Thank you so much. This means so much to me as disabled person who if often planning events/trainings.

In every group i've been part of, i have always made sure access was a non-negotiable part of our event planning--from the beginning! and not as an after thought or add-on.
It makes such a difference when disabled people are in leadership and can get to shape access.

I remember coworkers/bosses/supervisors giving me a hard time because i would insist that we have 2 people on the event planning team who were solely dedicated to accessibility.
I had to teach folks who were the leads on access about how it needed to happen: reframing access as relational, rather than solely logistical. For example, I made sure that they would *proactively* reach out to everyone who needed access. every. single. person. individually.
This was really important to me bc of the amount of time ableism has stolen from my life by having to *always* be the one reaching out again and again and again about access for an event/training i wanted to take part in. And having ppl treat me like i was/am a burden.
I wanted disabled people to feel like we cared about them and that we--the event organizers--valued access, that access was something we *wanted* to do, rather than something we *had* to do.
And this was not only for disabled people! this was about any and all kinds of access. We did this for childcare to, for example, (and of course disability and childcare and access are not mutually exclusive categories).
It was/is important to me that ppl who needed access (no matter identity) that their access was valued & understood as *a part of our work*, not separate. That we were in conversation w them, in relationship w them. A small way to cultivate even a tiny bit of access intimacy.
I wanted disabled people (and anyone who needed access) to feel like we were doing this for the betterment of our work and community. I wanted people who are usually treated as an obligation or eye-roll, to be treated with dignity and radical care.
Bc of this, our access leads ended up doing things like, going to space beforehand & videoing/facetiming the event space, so folks could see the layout. or having multiple calls with disabled folks about seating comfort/support. or driving by the space at night to assess access.
It gave us time to do things like print different versions of materials, something that would have been impossible to do if we had not considered access from the beginning.
I share all of this bc i know whenever i talk about "making things accessible," people only think of logistics and a checklist of things (which are important, no doubt!). But to me "access" is so so so much deeper and more expansive and potentially transformative than that.
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