Dear Candidate Running for City Office,
It’s an election year. If you really want my vote I am asking you to address the need for our city to become inclusive for all. A city that fully supports the needs of all its residents. You talk about the young, the elderly, the middle class, the lower income, but I never hear you mention the disabled.
It’s time our city becomes a community where all are welcomed and valued. It’s time our city becomes a community that is 100% accessible to all of its residents. It’s time our city becomes a community where everyone is educated and aware of its disabled population. Our police officers, firefighters, EMTs, store clerks, city workers, business community and neighbors need to gain a better understanding of the needs of our disabled community.
Everywhere I go these days I notice our city as well as most other ones are putting in bike lanes to accommodate the needs of our bicyclists. Bravo for hearing what that group of our community needs. Bravo also for making the city more wheelchair accessible. There is so much more however that needs to be done.
Just because a city has wheelchair ramps to allow easier access to places doesn’t mean it’s community is inclusive. We need to do a better job educating both children and adults about things such as handicap parking spaces and the importance of shoveling walkways and sidewalks in the winter. We need to be a community that is more considerate of each other’s needs.
Our city has an increasing population of children with Autism and other disabilities. Let’s talk about their needs. For instance, it’s summertime and do you know what this city needs? It needs better parks and playgrounds for ALL of our children. We need fenced in parks with high fences and gates that actually stay closed. We need parks and playgrounds with equipment that is better adapted to our children’s needs. We need parks and playgrounds where our children can go and not be excluded and stared at by both other children and adults. We need to be a community that is more considerate and aware of each other’s needs.
There is a growing trend across our country to make more places “Autism friendly”. Amusement parks, water parks, vacation resorts and housing complexes are being recognized as being inclusive to all. If places like this can exist, why can’t our communities? Just imagine living in a city with not only bike paths and wheelchair ramps but a community that supports, understands and adapts to the needs of the children and adults living there with disabilities.
So to the candidates running for office in cities everywhere let’s start the discussion. Many people are listening.
A Registered Voter