I’m so glad that I got to write about this!! It’s my second op-ed for The Week. I’ve long been an advocate of redesigning the accessibility logo to better reflect WHO we are as people with disabilities and the reality of our lives!! When it comes to things like inclusion and disability representation, it’s so important that they’re accurate.
This is something that I’ve wanted to write about for awhile, so when one of my former editors (hi, Elizabeth Yuko, if you’re reading!! 👋🏻) sent me this story tip, it was just the timely news hook I needed.
So what exactly was that news hook, you ask? The state of Ohio is trying to redesign the accessibility logo to better reflect people with with a disability, to make it more dynamic and less stagnant, where the person is just sitting in their wheelchair waiting for someone to come and push them.
Unfortunately, the plans are being put on hold, and that’s unfortunate. A revamped, more modern logo would go a long way to changing public perception about what it’s like to live with a disability in 2019 — it would definitely squash some of those outdated stereotypes of someone who is helpless and dependent on others.
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I remind society, YET AGAIN, of all the things disabled people are and what they’re not. You’d think people would catch on by now, but…
We are a vibrant, independent people who aren’t sitting around, dependent on others. I often say that living with a disability is a verb in every sense of the word; that’s something the able-bodied community tends to forget sometimes. People with disabilities are working, socializing, shopping, vacationing, and just generally going about their lives. The last thing we’re doing is waiting for someone else to help us get somewhere.
Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly about the power of the accessibility logo’s proposed redesign. A logo that shows someone in a wheelchair propelling themselves forward could instill a better image of people with disabilities in the national mind. Every day, I and millions of others in the disability community fight stigmas and stereotypes. Showing us as we really are, even if it’s only in an illustration, would be a powerful way to help us be seen and better understood.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at email@example.com and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo
[Photo via Unsplash]