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Celebrating GAAD: Fighting For Equitable Access

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Thursday, May 21st, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day to raise awareness for people with disabilities. In honor of GAAD, I would like to tell you about “Crip Camp,” a documentary about teenagers with disabilities during the early 1970s. The teens who participated in this camp went on to become some of the leaders of the disability rights movement in America.

The film describes the group’s participation in demonstrations such as the “Capitol Crawl” that, despite the severe discrimination toward people with disabilities, led to the passage of landmark disability rights legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this July 26th!

While not directly addressed (due to the date in which it was filmed), the film does have connections to digital accessibility issues, which is what we want you to be thinking about. The overall underlying theme is equitable access. In today’s all-digital world, that also means on websites and within mobile apps. Back in the 1970s, people didn’t have the Internet, but the first key steps to its origin were happening. Two computers talked together in 1965, actually. The TX-2 computer in Massachusetts was connected to the Q-32 in California with a low speed dial-up telephone line. The plan for “ARPANET,” the future WWW’s foundation, was published in 1967. In October 1972, a large, very successful demonstration of the ARPANET took place for the general public at the International Computer Communication Conference (ICCC). ARPANET adopted TCP/IP1 on January 1, 1983; technical researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

You might be surprised to learn that people with disabilities spend about twice as much time online as people without disabilities. When websites and mobile apps are not designed or coded correctly, people with disabilities are left out. Digital accessibility has become an increasingly crucial disability rights issue. It may be in a different form than during the 1970s, but the core issue is the same today: raising awareness and fighting for what’s right!

Here at Accessible360, we want to do our part to help you understand how your website may not be providing an accessible experience by providing your business with a free accessibility assessment. Our hope is that once you know more about ADA compliance for websites, you’ll work to improve accessibility so that everyone can purchase your goods and services online, or grocery shop or bank online. Now more than ever, it’s so important that everyone can do that!

Just like the group of teenagers in “Crip Camp,” we are committed to creating a better and more inclusive world for everyone, including those with disabilities.

Happy GAAD!

1(transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) used to govern the connection of computer systems to the Internet

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