Monday December 3rd is the UN’s “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”, which, according to the Wikipedia article about it, “has been celebrated with varying degrees of success around the planet” since its inception in 1992. Now in 2018, we’re only a year on from the UN’s scathing judgment of the UK Government’s treatment of their disabled citizens. We bear most of the cost of the austerity (so much for the “big society”), our facilities and centres are being closed down or cut, funding for treatments and equipment is hard to come by. And, for many of us, we can’t get into places or access services like non-disabled people can, and that is what this little project is focussing on. In terms of the problems facing disabled people in the UK it’s just a drop in the ocean, but I am hoping that focussing on access will help make more people aware of the wider issues, as well as getting the attention of some of the businesses that are denying access to us.
Here are a few examples near to where I live (roll over image for details):
So how does it work?
It’s simple. All you need to do between now and the 3rd of December 2018 is take a photograph of a venue you (or someone you’re posting on behalf of) cannot access. This can be a shop, museum, salon, restaurant, anywhere where disabled customers are denied access due to lack of facilities. The easier it would be for the business to rectify their lack of access the better. Ideally you would be in the photograph, holding up a sign saying Access Denied, but if you can’t make a sign or don’t want to be in the photograph that is fine too!
After you’ve taken the photograph, wait until the 3rd of December at 2pm, and then post it on Twitter with the hashtag #AccessDenied and explain in the tweet how this business is denying you and other disabled people access (and @ the business in too if you like!).
Is there an official sign?
No, as not everyone has access to a printer. If you want to type one and print it that’s fine, or you can make your own with marker pens if that’s more your style! Text superimposed on afterwards is also an option.
I’m not in the UK, can I participate?
Of course! Disabled people face access problems everywhere, and I’d welcome submissions from other countries.
Is this just for wheelchair users?
No! I have used examples of steps blocking the way to services because that is what prevents my access. If you have visual impairment, are d/Deaf or have other disabilities that make some services and venues inaccessible to you, then I would welcome your input because this is definitely not just about the issues that wheelchair users face!
Do I have to be disabled to submit an image?
No, you are welcome to submit images of inaccessible venues even if you are not personally affected by the lack of access. Although I am aiming to amplify disabled voices, support in solidarity from non-disabled people is very much appreciated. You can also help by retweeting the posts on December 3rd.
What will happen afterwards?
Hopefully it will persuade a few businesses to rethink their accessibility at the very least, and raise some awareness of issues with accessibility that disabled people face in the UK and elsewhere. I will collect as many of the tweets as I can in a Storify, too.
December 3rd, 2pm UK time is the start but you can keep posting throughout the day. #accessdenied