The 2021 Federal Bar Association’s Manual for Planning Accessible Events
Human interest story
I had bunion surgery when our kids were little. Littles are sponges–we know that–but to what degree? Had surgery on one foot, and I hobbled for many weeks. Suddenly, it struck me that both kids were limping–favoring one side–the same one I was favoring. I asked the kids why they were limping and got stories of ouchies and boo-boos. Six months later, I had surgery on the other foot. Lo and behold, there was limping and hobbling again, favoring the other side, the same side I was favoring. More stories of ouchies and boo-boos.
The moral of this story is that we are all very impressionable, even past the age of three. By committing to right action, even though it may seem to be a drop in the bucket, we are putting into action the movement of a bucket tipping and water flowing everywhere and touching everything.
Humor me here: Human decency = water. Bunions = obstacles.
Why go the trouble of making events accessible?
When we look at accessibility from the point of view of equity, inclusion, and diversity, it makes sense for most people, but they think, “it doesn’t really apply to me,” or their business.
Let’s look at inclusion from another point of view: one that will resonate with businesses. Companies frequently balk at what they consider the unnecessary added expenses of producing accessible events. Beyond the concept of “setting a good example,” look at the numbers: An estimated 26% of Americans live with disabilities, according to the CDC. From a purely pragmatic point of view, making events accessible to people with disabilities is simply good business.
Whether you want to ensure that everybody is at the table, or set a good example for those who might be watching, or increase your business revenue, you can do well by doing the right thing.