Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday (Un)Favorites

I usually post my favorites from the past week on Fridays - things I've been reading, watching, or listening to - but I'm putting a pause on that today to talk about H.R. 620.

If you're a long-term reader, you'll remember I've talked about H.R. 620 before, in this post.  Basically, it's a bill making its way through the House of Representatives that would modify the way the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is enforced. The ADA is civil rights law, so right now, the onus is on the person with a disability to file a federal civil rights complaint if they encounter a coffeeshop, store, restaurant, etc. that isn't accessible. And even though the ADA has been around for more than 20 years, there are still many, many buildings that I can't get into.

H.R. 620 would make it even harder for me to file a complaint, and make it easier for businesses to not have to become accessible. I'd have to submit, in writing, a complaint citing exactly what part of the ADA they were violating, and what specific problems I encountered - this is a huge ask for someone who is just trying to get a cup of coffee or meet a friend for dinner. Then, as long as the business was making some sort of progress to become accessible, they could keep pushing the timeline for completion.

The ADA is supposed to make my life, and the lives of people like me, easier - H.R. 620 would do the opposite. It protects the interests of businesses over the interests of people with disabilities, which makes me really frustrated and disappointed, and makes me feel like I don't matter, like my needs are less important just because I use a wheelchair.

H.R. 620 is expected to be voted on next week. I know that there are so many outrageous things happening in our nation this year, and you might be tired of contacting your representatives. But please - take a minute to contact them once more, and ask them to protect the civil rights of their constituents with disabilities. It's so easy (you can even use Resistbot - I explain how here) and can really make a big difference.

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