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Here's what happened in the accessibility world from April 25–May 1, 2021

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As a reminder, we provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products.

Oscars Rejecting Anthony Hopkins’ Zoom Was a Slap in the Face to This Viewer with Chronic Illness

May 1, 2021, IndieWire: “For anybody who’s on the downside of advantage and relying purely on courage… it’s possible.” On that closing line of Russell Crowe’s 2001 Best Actor acceptance speech for “Gladiator,” I fell in love with the Oscars. I was also too sick to leave the house; at 14 years old, I was recovering from double pneumonia. It was the latest in a string of lung-related health issues that eventually led to a lupus diagnosis. When I heard these words from an actor I barely knew, it made me feel like I could be a part of Hollywood.

My Win As The First Disabled Black Woman On The Oscars Red Carpet

April 30, 2021, Essence: Sunday evening, when my rhinestone-lined wheelchair tires rolled onto the iconic Oscars red carpet, I inhaled deeply, embracing the fact that I was making history as the first visibly disabled Black woman at the Academy Awards.

Site of accessible playground not so accessible, some parents say

April 30, 2021, Lansing State Journal: When the Capital Region Community Foundation and City of Lansing announced plans for an accessible playground in Lansing, they pitched the location as an asset: situated in the center of the city, at Grand Avenue and Saginaw Street, with "universal access to the river's edge," according to a press release.

People with Disabilities to Candidates: Make Your Campaigns Accessible

April 30, 2021, Public News Service: Political campaigns must provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. That's the message to candidates for elected office in New York City.

Report: Digital content accessibility has big impact on brand reputation

April 29, 2021, PR Daily: Is your online content truly inclusive of the wide range of experiences and needs of consumers? Despite the promise of a more inclusive digital world for people with disabilities, thoughtlessness and inaction can still prevent some demographics from getting the full experience of your content.

Joanne O’Riordan: Magic wand, show me sport in all its accessible glory

April 29, 2021, The Irish Times: Here’s a question that has popped up several times throughout my last few years writing this column. If you were to wave a magic wand tomorrow morning and see sport in its full accessibility glory, what would that look like?

Remote Work Provides More Opportunities for Blind Job Seekers

April 28, 2021, SHRM: With growing acceptance of remote work and as employers struggle to fill positions and try to boost diversity, equity and inclusion, people who are blind or visually impaired are getting a better shot at the opportunity to work.

The Current State of Disability Representation in Children's Book

April 28, 2021, Book Riot: I began this piece out of frustration. Despite the many initiatives to make children’s books more diverse and representative of everyone instead of a select white, able-bodied, cis het population, it’s still hard to find disability representation in children’s books, particularly ones written by disabled folk, and particularly ones that depict multiple identities (Black and disabled, for example). What’s happening in the children’s publishing industry? I wondered. Are there truly so few books with disabled characters being published? Are things getting any better? What are children’s publishing companies doing to be more inclusive of disabled folk?

Doubling down on accessibility: Microsoft’s next steps to expand accessibility in technology, the workforce and workplace

April 28, 2021, Microsoft: More than 1 billion people around the world live with a disability, and at some point, most of us likely will face some type of temporary, situational or permanent disability. The practical impacts are huge. Employment and education rates are lower and poverty rates are higher for people with disabilities. And unfortunately, societal inclusion for this critical community has been flat for 30 years. Yet if there is one thing we have learned from 25 years of work on accessibility at Microsoft, it’s this: People with disabilities represent one of the world’s largest untapped talent pools, but we all need to act with bolder ambition to empower disabled talent to achieve more.

ADA Design Feature: Accessibility And Facilities

April 27, 2021, Facility Executive: Finding ways to make a direct difference in the world can be a challenge, but it’s within the daily reach of every facility manager. As an architect and a person with a disability, I’ve seen what happens when built environment professionals come to view accessibility regulations as less a burden and more an opportunity to create beautiful spaces that allow all people to live a full life.

Data Dashboard Ranks COVID-19 Vaccine Access Website Accessibility

April 27, 2021, Xtelligent Healthcare Media: A new tool from the Johns Hopkins Disability Research Center ranks states for how accessible their COVID-19 vaccine signup websites are, helping to broadcast improvements needed in the vaccine access process.

Climate Change Solutions Must Include People with Disabilities

April 27, 2021, Just Security: When natural disasters and other emergencies hit, resources become scarce, and, too often, people with disabilities cannot access them. As global warming continues to drive up temperatures and sea levels around the world, discussions of climate resilience and adaptation must do better to include these communities.

Tennessee bill passes to stop executions of intellectually disabled

April 27, 2021, WKRN: Tennessee lawmakers on Monday passed legislation designed to prevent death row inmates with an intellectual disability from being executed.

Raising accessible home standards a key recommendation for transforming disabled people’s lives

April 26, 2021, AT Today–UK: The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Disability Commission has published a new report that makes important recommendations to transform the lives of disabled people ahead of the publication of the UK Government’s Strategy for Disabled People.

The need for clear rules on accessible housing

April 26, 2021, Pro Bono News–AU: Good disability policy benefits all Australians. Sometimes it requires governments to mandate outcomes to overcome market failures.

Accessibility, As Ever, Sprung Forth In New Products Announced At Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event

April 26, 2021, Forbes: Benjamin Franklin famously quipped there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. Add a third: Every Apple product, whether tangible or digital, will have accessibility built in. It is a certainty the company conceives, develops, and introduces new hardware (and software) with the disability community in mind. The sentiment rang true yet again at the tech titan’s “Spring Loaded” virtual event streamed last week from Apple Park. Every product Apple announced that Tuesday morning—redesigned iMacs, an all-new Siri Remote, spectacularly powerful iPad Pros, and AirTag—all have significant ramifications for accessibility. To critique these products and tell their stories, accessibility is a crucial part of the equation that contextualizes them far beyond marketing strategy or workflow or raw compute power. This context provides fuller insight not only to the people who made the products, but more importantly, to the people whose successful use of the devices hinge on a panoply of circumstances.

Oscars 2021: ‘Crip Camp’ team’s appearance marks ‘tipping point’ for disabled people

April 25, 2021, Los Angeles Times: Diversity is about so much more than skin color, as evidenced by the 2021 Oscars red carpet, which on Sunday welcomed three people using wheelchairs — one with a service dog.

Smartphone Accessibility Features for Older Adults

April 25, 2021, My Prime Time News: Last year, AARP said that smartphones were the most purchased item among those surveyed. Adoption of mobile technology among older adults has increased during the pandemic.