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While 2020 was pretty shit for most of us and brought a lot of challenges with it, this year also blatantly highlighted changes that can and need to be make within our society.

These days we are all living with a sense of limited access, whether you have a disability or otherwise. And with this collective experience comes a unique opportunity to build our movement – one that focuses on accessibility and inclusion. Now is the time to practice advocacy and allyship while we are all in a “Namastay at home” situation, because for the first time, possibly ever, we all are experiencing the same thing to some extent. 

From working from home, to learning online, to deliveries and shipping, telehealth, online events and conferences, to even hosting virtual Netflix parties, this year we expanded our definition and understanding of accessibility.

When shit hits the fan, we’ve learned that change is possible, and much of this change has helped companies and governments put in place many of the ‘accommodations’ people with disabilities have long been advocating for. A flexible, responsive, digital and physical, inclusive and accessible world is possible. 

In efforts not to make this year seem like it was a stroll in the park, because it was anything but, I am focusing on celebrating the importance of our resilient community. Now more than ever I am incredibly grateful for all the continued support we have received at AccessNow, and I promise to take this support and trust and put it as the fuel to our fire in 2021 – this is the year we must get shit done. In honour of all those we have lost, in honour of all those who struggle, in honour of all the bright spirits that fight for disability rights every day – it’s our time.

     

    Here are a few 2020 highlights for the AccessNow community:

     

    • In response to COVID in March we launched our #AccessFromHome Directory to help people find companies and services that were accessible from home. We launched AccessFromHome Stories to highlight real experiences by people with disabilities in the community and how they are impacted by the pandemic.
    Access From Home Stories featuring: Tai, Marco, Naz, Gabby, Kelcie, Keisha, Jess, Liz

     

     

    Screenshot of the Crip American Air Petition on Change.org. Title of the campaign is "Reverse American Airlines discriminatory policies against people with disabilities" and it says "Victory: This petition made change with 8,406 supporters"
    • We mapped accessible and not accessible places all over Canada with the #Map3IDPD movement. Many of you took the pledge of 3 for International Day of Persons with Disabilities
    purple banner that reads "make it accessible"
    A colourful illustration of 4 people with varying disabilities

    On behalf of the entire team at AccessNow, thank you and happy new year!