Each year, the US-based National Organization on Disability rates the most inclusive cities in the US, in a contest called Accessible America. We're not talking curb cuts and prime parking spaces here. From their website for the 2006 contest:
The winning cities or towns designated in the Accessible America 2006 competition will be places where citizens with disabilities have opportunities for full and equal participation in the life of their community, including access to education, jobs, voting, transportation, housing, religious worship, and a full range of social, recreational, cultural, and sports activities. Another area that NOD is giving special focus to is emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. The competition highlights community-wide progress and inspires replication of best practices programs and ideas.
The 2005 winners were (in order, first to fifth): Cambridge, MA, St. Paul, MN, West Hollywood, CA, Miami Beach, FL and Austin, TX. The cities are profiled in the new issue of New Mobility magazine.

Also in this month's New Mobility is my story on Brooke Ellison, who is running for State Senator in Suffolk County, New York, an eastern suburb of New York City. (The story's not online, although a snippet of it is here.)

I've written about Ellison before, a remarkable woman who I admire tremendously. Here's a little something about her; also her book and the TV movie about her life. Brooke would make an excellent State Senator, and perhaps one day a US Senator. She's smart, determined and tenacious, all to the nth degree, and has a generous, liberal worldview to match. I wish I could vote for her. I'll be watching the outcome with great interest.


doug said...

I was rather naive in regards to handicap accessibility but I believe I mentioned earlier(few months ago) my sister has Frederick's Ataxia-form of MD..anyways she is now confined to a wheelcahair and living in Vancouver(president of her local chapter of Muscular Dystrophy) but through her struggles and visiting her I have seen first-hand the obstacles she faces everyday in regards to accessibility...and you know the biggest thing I've noticed and am now cognizant of, is stores and how narrow their aisles are, and the lack of space to manouvre, it's quite astounding...I know economically stores have to get as much merchandise in as possible...but in pushing her wheelchair around it's surprising.

So just to have accessible entrances is a improvement but once in there it's literally impossible to go anywhere in a lot of cases....

L-girl said...

I do remember you had disability in the family, Doug, but I didn't remember the specifics. That's a tough road your sister's on, since (I believe) it's progressive.

Re store aisles, same thing with restaurants. Accessible entrance, maybe, but can you use the washroom? Can you get to a table? Of course restaurants are not as essential as stores, but still, they're part of life, people should be able to live to the fullest.

It's disheartening to hear about these issues in Vancouver - which is supposed to be a model for accessibility.

doug said...

yes it's tough for me to watch and feel powerless and just want to make it better for her, but for her and just what she is REALLY growing through I admire her that's for sure....I just wanted to mention that sometimes we ger cynical, or caught up in politics the situation of the time, but did you notice that yesterday 10,000 people filed past the coffin of Buck 0'Neil what a wonderful statement about people, mankind and about Buck himself...

L-girl said...

yes it's tough for me to watch and feel powerless and just want to make it better for her, but for her and just what she is REALLY growing through I admire her that's for sure

I know what you mean - on both counts.

Thanks for that re Buck O'Neil. :)