Access and Inclusion Awards

Last Tuesday, I attended the annual Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability‘s Access and Inclusion Awards. (As for this post, better late than never, right?) This ceremony did not occur last year because the Mayor’s Office was considering merging these awards with other diversity award ceremonies. But, thanks to relentless advocacy from Councilmember Paula Haskin, Mayor Hogsett agreed to a 2017 program.

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The ceremony began with a few words from the Mayor. His speech was geared toward empowerment and appreciation for the 27 years of continuing advocacy people with disabilities have made. His referring to a person in a wheelchair as “wheelchair-bound” was a minor blunder. For those who are unaware, “wheelchair-bound” is a disfavored phrase by many who use wheelchairs. We see wheelchairs not as something we are stuck in, but rather as tools of freedom. It was a teachable moment.

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Awards were received by the following individuals:

  • Scott Wise, owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse, won the award for being an employer offering opportunities to people with disabilities.
  • Indy Pride won for being a community organization going above and beyond to include individuals with disabilities in its programming.
  • Wade Wingler, of Easter Seals Crossroads, won the lifetime achievement award in honor of a life of service to individuals with disabilities.

Take a Seat: My Latest Complaint

Although I’ve posted a bunch of book reviews lately, I haven’t shared much in regard to my personal life and activities. In truth, I haven’t gotten out much the last six weeks – on April 16, I fell out of bed and broke my femur and radius. Ouch! I’m healing, and have begun to regain my feistiness. Too bad for the Indy Eleven…

Because I still need help in light of the broken leg and all of the consequences it entails, my sister and I decided it would be helpful if our mom came to an Indy Eleven game with us to help with positioning, drinks, etc.  I went online to purchase a ticket for her – what is known as a “companion seat” in the ADA realm – but the Indy Eleven does not allow one to purchase accessible tickets from its website.  I know this was the case last year, when I tried to purchase companion tickets on several occasions, but it is unbelievable to me that, in its third season, the team is still not ADA-compliant!

I emailed the ticket agent, and he offered me a free ADA seat if I met him at Will Call. It was a nice gesture, but: (1) I had already purchased a ticket in a different section; (2) Will Call is impossible to get to once you are already inside the Stadium; and (3) it’s illegal not to offer people with disabilities the same opportunities to purchase tickets that non-disabled people have.  In other words, thanks, but no thanks.

While I was emailing the ticket people, I also asked if the team has any intention of marking the numbers for each seat in the disabled sections. The guy who responded said, no – seating is temporary. Gee, it’s kind of interesting that all seats are numbered except for the disabled section. Other disabled people regularly are parked in my season ticket seats. At the last game, there was an empty scooter parked in my spot.

My sister theorized that this is all strategic on the part of Indy Eleven. She theorized that, eager to produce facts that would support the building of a new stadium, management is doing when it can to incite and gather as many complaints as possible about the existing stadium. Well, Indy Eleven, you have your wish. Monday I filed my first complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.