As an event planner and a member of communities that are often excluded, I have learned a lot about what people need to participate and wanted to share (and learn) with you. This is a page on all the things people forget about accessibility [basic things to make it easy for people to be a part of something]. Can folks add to this list in the comment sections? When are times you have been excluded? What do you need to participate? Are there things (movements! organizations! listservs!) you are not involved with because of access or a feeling of being unwelcome? If so, I would be sooo thankful if you could share that experience so we could learn from it. xoxo– cripchick
do you have childcare so parents can come? will kids be safe and have programming so parents don’t have to worry about them?
do you have different payment options? if people can’t afford your event, can they volunteer their time or services instead?
how do people hear about your events? is it just email and facebook or do you use mailings and phone trees too?
with a long history of trans and genderqueer people being harrassed and in danger when they go into bathrooms, do you have bathrooms where gender does not matter? a lot of times gender-neutral bathrooms are single-room bathrooms where disabled people can also go in with their personal attendants or parents can take their kids. this is helpful for everyone.
do you ask about people’s allergies or if they need vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc?
is Point A far from Point B for folks that walk? what physical barriers are there?, if you’re going to close meeting room doors, are they heavy?, are there chairs for people? are the chairs wide enough that everyone can be comfortable? it’s cool to be creative about making things work but know that if basic access requires a lot of energy, people may not come.
always be aware of time. if you are planning an event, it’s important that people know the schedule and you try your hardest to stick to it. many autistic people cannot participate if you don’t do this. for disabled people who have to schedule out transportation, bathroom trips with personal attendants, etc, a schedule that is always changing means they will miss programming (don’t assume people can stay a hour later if you’re late on schedule!) if there must be schedule changes, be clear about them so people know.
if people request it, are your documents available in large print, braille, on a cd, or in another language? did you set aside money for ASL (or other languages) interpreters so people can request them? do people know that they can ask for these things?
is everyone saying their name before they speak? if you giving directions, do you know how to explain it to a person with a visual impairment? if you are watching a movie, does it have audio description or are you prepared to describe what is happening visually? if it is a multi-day event, can you arrange a time where people can go on a tour of the buildings so they know where everything is?
does everyone know what you are saying? are you using word everyone knows and if not, can you explain those terms? do your documents and presentations have pictures that explain what is happening?
are you using a variety of different formats? (e.g. media wise— documents, videos, audio, pictures. Presentation styles—large group, small group, interactive activities, art-making, etc?) are your rooms big enough that people can walk around or stand during your presentation if they want to?
if you are hosting an event, do you have a space where people can go if they need to be alone? do you have flexibility so people can step back if they are getting overstimulated or tired? (for safety at youth events, this works well with a “buddy system” so people can tell someone they are taking a break). it is also helpful to have another lounge where people can go take a mental break and socialize. (this also helps clears up congestions in hallways)
are you committed to creating an environment where people feel safe? allowing people to make comments that are racist, sexist, heterosexist, ableist, classist and more make it hard for people in these groups to participate. try to understand the historical context behind what you say
if you are about to use a really graphic image, phrase, or story, do you let people know? are there kids there? people in your audience may be survivors of abuse or have PTSD, better safe than sorry.
can you arrange for a message board system so people looking for rides can share?
are you respectful of people’s preferred gender pronoun, disabilities (not all disabilities are visible, go by what folks say instead of assumptions), and backgrounds? remember that no one ever owes you an explanation for who they are.
What else is missing yall??