Diversity-Equity-Inclusion

Young people at a conference

Three Easy Ways to Maximize Event Accessibility

Three easy ways to maximize event accessibility are through planning, event design, and technology. Event planners work magic behind the scenes to pull off their events. Without this effort, they couldn’t i​mplement the necessary details that create a thriving, welcoming environment.

Diversity and inclusion practices work best when weaved into the planning process. ​Here are three ways to showcase your skill and passion while accommodating everybody, including those with invisible disabilities.

〰PLANNING〰

In totality, your guest accommodations should be friendly to people living with disabilities, including the people whose disabilities are considered hidden.

When you announce your event, provide an accessibility statement and point of contact, or include clear instructions on how to request accommodations. Requests should share a deadline with RSVPs to avoid confusion. (Scroll to the end for 2 examples!)

If any guests are traveling from out of town, extend your communication to include details regarding hotel accommodations and transportation accessibility.

〰EVENT DESIGN〰

Premier event design unifies the gathering and refines your event. Take care to ensure the acoustics, lighting, and temperature are conducive to enjoying the environment you’ve promoted.

Prioritize the simple but significant details that effect whether or not someone can see, hear, or participate in what is being offered. Thoughtful seating arrangements, unobtrusive decor, and multiple access points to information are applicable examples.

〰TECHNOLOGY〰

If your event consists of any visual or auxiliary elements, p​lainly communicate what you are able to offer in terms of additional services and assistive technology.

Some examples:

  • ●  American Sign Language interpreters
  • ●  CART services (Real time closed captioning is preferred to computer generatedcaptions which sometimes fall short of total accuracy.)
  • ●  Visual and auxiliary aids
  • ●  Assistive communication devices
  • ●  Fragrance-free environments
  • ●  Quiet rooms
  • ●  Sensory rooms

Be prepared to provide information through alternative formats such as a brochure with large print. If you present any text, always use a mic and read it aloud while facing the audience.

While this list is not exhaustive, it ​is a great place to start​ in terms of creating a more accessible world and producing a flourishing event.

Be open to learning about new ways to deliver a positive, coequal experience to everyone at your events. (Or as we like to say it, keep inviting everyone to the table.)

Read below to check out 2 easy ways to set the right pieces into motion starting with your announcements, and happy planning!

Accessibility Checklist Example:

Check what is needed in order to participate:

___ Advance copy of slides to be projected
___ Allergies — List: ________________________
___ An assistant will be accompanying me
___ A service animal will be accompanying me
___ Assistive listening device
___ Braille
___ Captioning
___ Diet Restrictions — List: __________________
___ Gender neutral bathroom
___ Lactation room
___ Large print
___ Orientation to facility
___ Reserved front row seat
___ Scent-free room
___ Wheelchair access
___ Wheelchair access to working tables throughout room ___ Other: ________________________________

Or

Provide an ​accessibility statement with a​ ​point of contact​:

We are committed to organizing events that are inclusive to all. To request information on accommodations and accessibility, contact [​ Full name & pronouns] at​ [email AND phone number] when submitting your RSVP. As a courtesy to those with allergies and environmental sensitivities, we are asking that our staff and guests please avoid wearing strong fragrances.

Read more

Group at Pride 2018

Pride Weekend 2020 and National Coming Out Day

At the conclusion of Pride Weekend 2020 and National Coming Out Day:

As a cishet white female married to a man and mother of two cishet children, why would I a) join what was formerly known as the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; and b) why would I become an Ambassador?

At first I was puzzled by some of the looks I got when I introduced myself as straight—furrowed brows and all. In the interim, I’ve learned that there is a sense of apprehension. “Wait—she’s straight—why’s she here?”

I’m a member of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance because I can be. The shocking discrimination I’ve seen aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, family and friends, acquaintances, business partners, colleagues, and people I’ve known is a sickness that hurts and kills people. Ignore it? Never. What can I do? Let it begin with me.

Having community that has your back is crucial. For me, showing up, bearing witness, and speaking out are on par with how I try to live my life and how I’ve tried to raise my family.

It’s easy, way too easy, to live in a bubble. To not see the tear-stained faces of kids being rejected for being who they are, to see people denied access to resources and basic human rights because of how they identify and who they love hurts every one of us. If we believe for a minute that denying equal access and equal rights to any other individual or group while we ourselves enjoy these privileges will help us, we are delusional.

Read more