Shew: Accessibility now, solely 31 years late | Columnists


President George HW Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Ashley Shew

Just another day with my city’s now inaccessible shops – second floor floors with no elevators, stairs, tiny bathrooms, not to mention too noisy, no alt-format menus, no alt-text on websites, not even restaurant information online to know you are entering hostile infrastructure.

My children have not seen any children for a while (COVID-19). We wanted to have a social gathering for one of them before we hit the huge stairs to the meeting point. I ordered in advance so our food was upstairs. We wanted to see the place before others arrived. My kids love me and have listened to my advocacy on disability issues, so they were absolutely mad at the stairs.

It’s a good day so I was able to walk up the stairs while my kids followed me, all the while in disbelief that wheelchair users couldn’t come to this taco bar. “Why would you want a shop that wheelchair users can’t go to?” “We’re not staying, right, mom?” “I can’t believe that.”

They want to defend me right now, defend my right to go anywhere – they want to think of all the other disabled people they know for whom these stairs would mean no access at all.

We used the website to order food without mentioning the stairs. There was no number on the door to call road service. At that time last year, my hip pain was terrible and I couldn’t climb stairs. But at the moment I’m going up the stairs one after the other, easier up than down, because falling up is less of a worry.

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