The Inclusion Event Recap
Every year we recognize October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. On October 7th we held our inaugural The Inclusion Event with Architect Ileana Rodriguez as the keynote speaker and our friend Scott Clow from the K105.3 Morning Show hosting.
Through her experiences internationally as an Architectural Consultant and the Paralympics as an athlete and now accessibility consultant for the games, she has a unique insight to planning and designing for accessible/inclusive spaces. It is in these inclusive environments that disabilities become background to the person. She emphasized that people are more than someone with a disability and a disability doesn’t need to define who we are as a person.
Additionally, she reminded us that disabilities are a natural part of life. Every day people are born with, acquire, or develop disabilities and as we age the chances we obtain some form of a short or long term disability increases. That is just a fact of life. We should always be thinking forward about who we are really designing for. Accessible/Inclusive design provides the benefit of being long lasting and used by a broader population. A baby in a stroller getting pushed needs the same access as someone using a wheelchair and someone with their hands full is the same as someone without arms.
This is what I feel should be strived for. Don’t just meet the minimum standards or put a ramp in the back and say “good enough”. Change the environment and create an inclusive culture where people don’t have to use side entrances or feel embarrassed because they are different. Embrace the differences in people and through that desire of equity, we will all be in a better more inclusive world.
It is also important to remember it is not just the one person with a disability, it is that person and all those around them that are impacted by inaccessible spaces/design. As a group, people with a disability and those close to them have an incredible power economically, with $1.2 Trillion in annual disposable income. These are our friends, siblings, parents, and grandparents going about living their lives and wanting to do it in an inclusive way.
Thank you again to all of The Inclusion Event sponsors. Your backing allowed us to provide a free webinar experience with expert advice on inclusive environments. Thank you to all the attendees and silent auction participants as well. Because of you, we raised $1,500 to support our internal programs of Residential Ramps, Loan Closet, Fix-dis, Access For All, and Respite Care. We look forward to having The Inclusion Event next year and providing another experience all people can enjoy.