When it comes to equal access, blind people in particular, are usually an afterthought. So when I heard that Elizabeth Warren (who was running for President this year) actually came up with her campaign merchandise with blind people at the forefront of discussions about it, I was elated!! Even nowadays, I believe her campaign website is still viewable. And if you look at said website, you’ll see how she describes every image of the different shirts and buttons she has available for purchase; and her descriptions are given in rich detail. This enables blind people to familiarize ourselves with exactly what’s available to us–freedom of choice and informed choice, really are powerful things!! I’ve never seen anyone else prioritize equal access as Elizabeth Warren has done for her presidential campaign, and I wish that her approach could be the model for the entire world to go by.
I feel like I shouldn’t be grateful for equal access in this way…yet I am. Because in reality, most of the world is not made with blind folks at the forefront of its mind. And that’s incredibly unfortunate; because all blind people want, is equal access. We are not demanding that everything that exists in the world be fully accessible to us. But we blind people are asking folks and educating folks, about how lack of access in the world really does impact our lives in huge and damaging ways.
Like, when I’ve purchased merchandise of favorite singers of mine, I’ve had to have someone sighted look at the assorted options for me and then articulate what they saw…so that I could then determine what kinda merchandise I wanted to get, along with which specific shirt, buttons ETC, I was interested in purchasing. And while me doing things this way does accomplish the goal of me getting things that I like, it doesn’t accomplish my ultimate wider goal of me being able to fully make informed decisions by myself. And what I mean by that, is that I’m unable to maintain my privacy, when it comes to ordering things for myself. Hell, even when I’d recently ordered new shoes for myself, I had to have someone sighted tell me the different shoe options I could choose from, both in terms of what color shoes were available…but also, the assorted shoe styles that were available. And that’s incredibly frustrating, mostly because I know that if all websites prioritized accessibility into their creations, my world as a totally blind person would look very different. And that being said, I decided to make this particular topic into a post of its own, as I need to educate people about why it’s crucial to put actions behind their language about how they’re so inclusive. Don’t tell me that; show me that, by creating products and websites/platforms where accessibility for *everyone* is at the top of your list priority-wise. And then, spread the word to the world at large about how this kinda thing is a very real problem…and work together to change that for the better!! That’s it. It really is that simple.