Chicago — Access Living, a leading disability rights and service organization, will celebrate its 40th anniversary Wednesday, November 18, with a free online broadcast open to all, designed to be an immersive lesson in accessibility for its entire audience.
Called Lead On Live: Access Living’s Gala Reimagined, the show will air at 7 p.m. Central Time on Access Living’s website, accessliving.org, and will include American Sign Language interpretation by a Certified Deaf Interpreter, open captioning, audio description, Spanish audio translation, and accessible webpage features.
“While none of these features are extraordinary in themselves, typically at virtual events they are optional if they are offered at all,” said Access Living’s Director of Communications Bridget Hayman. “Unfortunately, many digital tools are inherently inaccessible to people with a range of disabilities. We aim to show our audience that better accessibility is possible online, and they’ll get a sense of what it looks, sounds and feels like.”
Blazing the trail for universal access is in Access Living’s DNA. Over the past 40 years, the organization, and its founding President and CEO Marca Bristo, who passed away last year, have played a pivotal role in advancing disability rights nationwide. Lead On Live will reflect on that legacy; showcase the work Access Living is doing right now to advance disability rights and protections in the face of COVID-19 and the issues of the day; and chart a path to the future with Karen Tamley as its new President and CEO.
Access Living’s Racial Justice Community Organizer Candace Coleman will host the show, and will be joined by a number of guests, entertainers and disability advocates throughout the evening.
“We want people to feel welcome regardless of their familiarity with disability, to learn new things about our people and our movement,” said Coleman. “We have a long way to go in getting where we need to be, and we can’t do it without making everyone aware and getting everyone involved.”
Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform.