May 13th, 2019, Disability Rights Iowa announced the launch of an awareness campaign that brings attention to accessibility for those with disabilities and in wheelchairs. They are encouraging people to use the app Access Earth and the hashtag #IAccessible to let others know about accessible and inaccessible local venues.
Why does access matter?
Lack of access restricts the lives of people with disabilities. Imagine a single step preventing you from enjoying a cup of coffee with friends. Simple things like that that a lot of us take for granted is making it harder for people with disabilities to have common experiences. The campaign will educate Iowans about these barriers, allow people with disabilities to search for accessible venues, and share experiences from across the state.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 29 years ago, on July 26th, 1990. The act gives civil rights to people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination based on disability. But just because this act is in place does not mean that venues immediately changed how they serve the public. Many venues are still not accessible to the disabled to participate in daily activities. Additionally, the lack of access hinders the economic participation of people with disabilities. Between 1993 and 1999, EEOC issued eight enforcement guidances that have provided interpretations on key ADA issues. These issues include pre-employment inquiries and medical examinations, workers' compensation benefits, psychiatric conditions, and the meaning of the term "qualified." The act also states the requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.
The app Access Earth was created to help those with disabilities and in wheelchairs find venues that are disability friendly. This way, Iowans with disabilities will possess the tools necessary to more fully participate in regular daily activities, without the frustration of access being placed on their shoulders. You can find the app in the Apple Store or on Google Play. You can also use the hashtag #IAccess on social media to produce accessible venues for the disabled.
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