Today I attended a disability rights March in Indianapolis sponsored by the Global Accessibility Project. Those who turned out – on a hot day that threatened thunderstorms – both with and without disabilities, are committed to promoting disability rights. A guy from Iowa even stopped by and joined us for a while, sharing that he stood in solidarity with our frustrations about the lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in the broader social justice landscape.
As we marched around Indiana’s Statehouse and Government Center, numerous accessibility fails were witnessed:
- Our permit was for gathering on the south lawn of the Statehouse. It’s impossible to get there without climbing stairs.
- To enter the Statehouse, those who cannot climb stairs are required to enter in the back, via the basement.
- Accessible parking is nowhere near the accessible entrances of either building.
- Flower planters are placed about one foot from the edge of the curb where those using accessible parking are required to parallel park. This makes it impossible for those using the parking spaces to deploy ramps or lifts.
- One ramp was ridiculously steep, clearly outside Access Board requirements.
- Many ramps were in poor repair, with potholes at the edges.
- One ramp was completely inaccessible, as construction materials covered it. There was no opportunity to detour, as construction cones were dumped in the possible detour pathway.
Think that’s a lot of problems? We walked less than two blocks! Perhaps some of our frustration can now be understood…