The importance of accessibility in the DEIA conversation
For a long time, diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI, has been top of mind for organizations of all sizes across all sectors of our economy, but DEI alone is not enough. One critical element is missing from the well-known acronym — the “A.” It stands for accessibility.
Barriers to accessibility can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. The ability to work, go to church, enjoy the arts, sports and travel are all part of a person’s life experience. Every person has the right to access their community. Equity should be a priority and accessibility is an integral part of that conversation.
I am the Vice President of External Affairs at Bosma Enterprises. Our organization is dedicated to improving the daily lives of individuals with vision loss by helping them thrive at home, work and in the community. Through innovation, training and education, we have helped thousands of Hoosiers overcome accessibility barriers. But we are just one organization.
There is no better time for businesses, non-profits and government agencies to become more accessible. Since its passing in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has significantly broadened its definitions to provide more accessibility opportunities for those with disabilities.
We are all responsible for making the world a more accessible place, and as more organizations add the “A” to DEI we further the mission of the ADA. In the workplace, leaders should seek opportunities to inform themselves and practice the principles of DEIA in their companies’ processes, goals and initiatives.
This month, as we celebrate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s time for reflection on the “A.” Dr. King worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for people of all backgrounds. Now more than ever, I challenge you to continue his work through DEIA practices in your life. There is much to learn from his commitment to making the world a better place for all. Consider and involve those with disabilities in the conversation. Everyone should have the opportunity to “participate in life.”