We would like to thank the members of our community who have shared their experiences, concerns, and suggestions regarding accessibility deficits at The Community Center.
Their feedback was absolutely correct: we were failing to provide adequate access in a number of ways, which meant that we were not fully supporting some of the most underserved in our community or providing an inclusive workplace. It was a wake-up call to do better.
In response, we began working with the Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL) to complete an audit of our space, and we have been implementing their recommendations and making additional changes, such as:
- We attended the webinar “Spaces Intended for Us: Barriers to Participation Experienced by People with Disabilities” hosted by the Good Work Institute, which gave us a much-needed perspective from which to begin our accessibility work. We are also planning an in-person training session with RCAL for all of our staff and board members.
- We purchased a new, portable, and user-friendly wheelchair ramp that complies with city ordinances for sidewalk access.
- We have made common areas and hallways more open and accessible by rearranging or removing furniture, removing stored items, and moving signage; we are in the process of installing lever-type door handles as recommended by RCAL.
- We have expanded our community hours with the Open Doors program, which welcomes people to visit and use the resources at The Community Center on Thursday evenings and Saturdays. We intend to expand this program in the future when we have the resources to do so.
- We are actively pursuing having a wheelchair lift installed between the second and third floors.
- We are in the process of purchasing a computer station that is equipped for users who have vision and/or hearing impairments.
- We are translating signs, notices, and other information into Spanish.
- We are redesigning our website with accessibility features, including translation features.
- We will continue to offer virtual options for our programs to include people who are not able to attend in person.
These are not the only actions we will be taking – accessibility is an evergreen initiative as new technologies and resources become available.
We recognize that this is an overdue update on some of the progress we have been making over the past two years. It is our intention to provide more frequent updates, but please understand that “no news” does not mean “no action.” We are working constantly, thoughtfully, and intentionally to make the difficult changes that are necessary in order to evolve into a stronger, safer, and more inclusive LGBTQ+ Community Center.
If you have specific questions or feedback regarding our accessibility initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org