At the speaker event “Living with Social Justice and a Disability” on January 27th, those in charge of the judiciary pleaded for accessible resources and better treatment of disabled people in higher education.
Although blind students have one of the highest college acceptance rates, the lack of accessible materials results in high dropout rates, said spokeswoman Conchita Hernandez.
“I really have trouble getting access to materials [such as] I read books and had to spend so much time making things accessible instead of just focusing on my schoolwork, ”said a tearful Hernandez, a teacher studying for a doctorate in special education.
Accessibility issues also affect job hunting. The US Bureau of Labor reported that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 18.9% in April 2020.
“We want to be hired,” said Hernandez. “How can we ensure that jobs are not performing once we step into them? And how are our accounting and payroll platforms that we use accessible? “
India Harville, a black activist and educator with disabilities, said the struggle for accessibility is an ongoing process.
“Disability equality is a framework, but it’s also a practice,” said Harville. “It requires constant self-examination and unlearning skills.”
Harville added that this activism must include all votes.
“At the same time, I also encourage people to think about disability rights [with] Intersectionality, ”said Harville. “To accept disability accessibility and to recognize that cisgender white men with limited mobility do not speak for the majority of disabled people.”
Students with disabilities can contact De Anza Disability Support Services for further assistance.
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