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Here's what's happening in accessibility news. We provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products. Check back for updates every weekday.

Microsoft Accessibility Boss Jenny Lay-Flurrie Reflects On Three Decades Of The ‘Landmark’ Americans With Disabilities Act

July 28, 2021, Forbes: This week marked the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, colloquially known as the ADA. President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law on July 26, 1990 in a ceremony at the White House’s Rose Garden. The hallmark piece of legislation, effectively doing for disabled people what the Civil Rights Act did for Black people 26 years earlier, was pioneered by former congressman Tony Coelho (D-CA). Coelho, who’s an epileptic, told me last year he was motivated to push for the bill after being told by many people (including his parents) that his diagnosis was a sign he was “possessed by the devil.” Coelho introduced the bill on the House floor on May 9, 1989, then faced stiff opposition on the road to ultimately getting the President’s necessary signature the following summer.

In-Person Arts Events Are Back and Pandemic Accessibility Is Quietly Disappearing

July 27, 2021, Observer: It’s started already. I’ve excitedly gone to purchase tickets for arts events, assuming virtual options were available (as they were for over a year of the pandemic) only to feel the sting of rejection: In-person tickets only.

How a Teen Punk Led a Movement for Disabled People Online

July 27, 2021, The Verge: When Tyler Trewhella opened Tumblr in 2014 and posted a photo of themself outside a diner, they had no idea that image would become their legacy. The photo shows them with cane in hand and cigarette in mouth, clad in boots, a denim jacket with pins, and a hat with earflaps. A small banner across the picture was originally going to say “diner punk,” but they decided at the last second to change it to “cripple punk.” Tongue in cheek, they captioned the post, “i’m starting a movement.”

Google Docs is getting a major accessibility upgrade

July 27, 2021, TechRadar: One of the most important Google Workspace tools is getting a significant software upgrade that should make the productivity suite more accessible than ever.

Biden administration announces resources to support people with long Covid

July 26, 2021, CNN: The Biden administration on Monday released guidance and resources to support people experiencing long-term effects of Covid-19, known as "long Covid," as the condition shapes up to be a major, long-term public health issue.

City of Detroit Unveils First-Ever Strategic Plan to Significantly Improve Access and Service to Disability Community

July 26, 2021, City of Detroit: On this day in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, guaranteeing rights and greater access for citizens with disabilities. Thirty-one years later, the City of Detroit is marking the day by issuing its first-ever strategic plan to further improve access in the city.

NY Accessible Events Guide released on anniversary of American with Disability Act

July 26, 2021, The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities launched an accessible events guide on July 26. The guide was created to help people and organizations plan events that are inclusive for anyone who would like to attend. It provides event planners with ideas on what to consider when planning virtual and in-person events such as location, interior space, language access, as well as what to think about when planning registration, presentations, event material and special considerations for online events.

A Proclamation on Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2021.

July 26, 2021, The White House: Thirty-one years ago, on July 26, 1990, our Nation moved closer to the fulfillment of its foundational promise when we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark law affirms and protects the fundamental rights of people with disabilities — the right to equal opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and equitable participation in every aspect of American life. For more than three decades, the ADA has made our communities, our economy, and our country stronger and more vibrant. It has helped to uphold the dignity of the estimated 61 million Americans who live with a disability — in short, it is a triumph of American civil rights.

Setting up an Accessible Shopify Store

July 25, 2021, Practical Ecommerce: Ecommerce has come a long way in accommodating consumers with disabilities. I’ve addressed over the years many accessibility aspects of online shopping, from screen readers to lawsuits.

Shew: Accessibility now, only 31 years late

July 25, 2021, The Roanoke Times: Just another day facing my town’s inaccessible businesses today — second floor walk-ups with no elevators, stairs in, the tiniest of bathrooms, not to mention too loud, no alt format menus, no alt-text on websites, not even info on the restaurant online to know you are about to enter hostile infrastructure.

I struggled with office life. Now others are alive to benefits of remote working

July 25, 2021, The Guardian: I struggle with a mild form of face blindness, or prosopagnosia. The condition, usually associated with autism, makes it difficult to remember people’s faces. This means that, in high-stress situations, I am often unable to match someone’s face to their name or even remember if I’ve met them before. When I worked at an office, I inadvertently offended colleagues who did not understand why I struggled to place who they were.

How to make your recruitment process more accessible

July 23, 2021, HR News–UK: According to the most recent disabled people in employment report, in the UK, 1 in 5 people of working-age reported they were disabled. Despite this disabled people have an employment rate that has remained around 30% lower than people who are not disabled for more than a decade, which is often described as the Disability Employment Gap.

What we learned about accessibility by scanning more than 2 million federal .gov web pages

July 22, 2021, FCW: The Innovation Technology Innovation Foundation recently published an accessibility analysis of federal .gov websites, but this just scratches the surface of the need for a holistic, scalable approach to digital government accessibility.

How Voice Technology is Improving Accessibility

July 22, 2021, RTInsights: By embracing voice technology, organizations can improve diversity and inclusion practices for employees, customers, and other organizational stakeholders.

Flyers With Disabilities Will Get Support From New Airlines Industry Group

July 22, 2021, Skift: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is launching a worldwide action group focusing on improving and examining the safe and secure transport of mobility aids essential to accompanying travelers with disabilities.

Disability rights advocates are worried about discrimination in AI hiring tools

July 21, 2021, MIT Technology Review: Your ability to land your next job could depend on how well you play one of the AI-powered games that companies like AstraZeneca and Postmates are increasingly using in the hiring process.

The real ROI of making your products accessible

July 21, 2021, TechCrunch: New predictions indicate that tech companies committing to accessibility will reap a total of $10 billion to $16 billion in annual design spending across the U.S. and Canada. The surge in funds reinforces accessibility as not only an ethical priority, but a financial one, too.

How Making The Online Presence For Your Business Accessible And Inclusive To Everyone Affects Your Bottom Line

July 21, 2021, Forbes: The online world needs to be more accessible and inclusive for all people. Especially in recent events where the pandemic has pushed many businesses to increase their online presence, it is more important than ever to increase that inclusivity for all. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said, 10% of the world's GDP will be spent on tech. Yet, we’re reaching a point at which tech companies that don’t make their products accessible to all possible users will be excluded from the market, and miss out on that windfall.

Colorado first in nation to require web accessibility for government

July 20, 2021, Colorado Newsline: To the state lawmaker who sponsored legislation for people with disabilities, the success of House Bill 21-1110 is the perfect example of why “representation matters.”

Airlines damage or lose 29 wheelchairs daily; Here's what wheelchair users need to know

July 19, 2021, WBIR: A recent report has shown that air travel is a risky gamble for the more than 5.5 million people who have mobility disabilities and use wheelchairs in the United States.

12 Inclusive Hiring Practices Your Organization Should Implement

July 19, 2021, TechFunnel: Inclusive hiring practices are being brought to the workplaces and from what we have heard; many recruiters agreed that these hiring practices have made recruitment easier and better.

Adaptive fashion is catching on

July 19, 2021, Glossy: In the last few years, fashion has made some small but crucial strides in inclusivity. It’s not quite so unusual as it was a decade ago to see diverse skin tones on the runway or mainstream brands selling an extended size range. Now, the industry is starting to focus on adaptive fashion, or fashion designed for people with disabilities.

Wheel the World launches new website featuring industry-first accessibility mapping system for travelers with disabilities 

July 19, 2021 Travel Daily News: Wheel the World, a leading online travel booking platform for people with disabilities and seniors, has launched its new website, furthering the company’s mission to make the world more accessible. The innovative online travel marketplace offers places to stay, things to do, and multi-day tours in more than 50 destinations around the world while providing highly detailed information about accessibility that allows travelers to make informed choices about how and where they can travel with ease.

Jury returns $125M verdict against Walmart in ADA case

July 19, 2021, Business Insurance: A Green Bay, Wisconsin, jury returned a $125.2 million verdict against Walmart Inc. in a disability discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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