Hurricane Katrina rampaged New Orleans on August 29, 2005, when dozens of levees failed, leaving vast swaths of the city swamped, homes damaged and lives uprooted. Fifteen years later, the Crescent City’s most vulnerable still struggle. But for the past decade and a half, the national nonprofit Rebuilding Together has helped families recover, making critical repairs to 1,750 homes there.
Out of the dozens of issues that make up the world of disability policy and politics, education may be the most frustrating, and at the same time the most important. One of the proudest achievements of the disability rights movement is the stunning change in education of kids with disabilities. In a little under 50 years, we have gone from a situation where most disabled students simply had no legal right to a public education — and were widely excluded from schools with no recourse at all — to a legal right and nearly universal expectation that all kids with any disability will receive a public education in a completely or mostly mainstream environment. It’s an undeniable improvement.
As a blind man, Guillermo Robles successfully sued Domino’s Pizza because the chain failed to build a website that was as accessible to him as its brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Now as COVID-19 pushes more businesses, communication and emergency services online, accessibility law experts say the sooner websites comply with disability guidelines — such as providing audio transcripts, writing alternative photo texts and fixing broken links — the better.
Across our country, there is no uniform message about how much we can visit and socialize with others, particularly our aging parents. We know for certain that people over 65 are at greater risk for getting sick from Covid-19 than younger people but that does not tell us what’s ok or not about visiting when hospitals are not involved. We just know we don’t want to put older loved ones at unnecessary risk. Staying away has its cost to everyone. We have to be smart and inventive to adjust to the risks of close contact with aging parents. Some things can work a lot better than saying to yourself that you have to wait until this is all over before you can see them in person.
Today was a big day in our house. My husband is a 63-year-old, African American sixth-grade teacher headed back to the classroom in Michigan for in-person instruction. But, since it’s happening during the pandemic, I’m fearful. Many other older teachers and school staffers across America who have pre-existing conditions or are caregivers are concerned about contracting coronavirus at work, too.
These performers re creating a new template for the artist-as-activist, challenging their industry – and their audiences – to reconsider what
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