Traveling over the past two months to various conventions and meetings has clarified one major
point to me. It is a strategic point of play behind Access Ready.
Our meetings in Tennessee are a great example. In our meeting with Jeff Roberts, the Davidson
County Elections Administrator, where I was joined by two great advocates. Carol Westlake,
Access Ready’s Chair of Coalitions and Chip Smith our Chair of Political Science, this glaring
strategic point of play came to light.
We were there to discuss accessible check-in at the polls. As the discussion went on it became
clear that our overarching message of building Access Ready Environments would have a more
This concept became even more clear in our next meeting with Commissioner Turner of the
States Department on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
While we have known this in an oblique subconscious way, the global effect of adopting an
Access Ready policy that cuts across all departments can have a more sweeping effect.
The reasoning is that since information technologies also cut through all levels of business,
government and the non-profit sectors that such a policy would have a dramatic trickle-down
effect on everything.
Advocating for changes in elections, education, social services, and points of sale, the
employment process and so forth put us in too many struggles with important, but small gains.
So many advocacy tracks are difficult to manage, and stretch resources.
All of the above examples and many more are supporting elements of why an Access Ready
policy should be adopted at overarching levels.
Yes, we should support divisional, departmental and programmatic adoption of an Access Ready
policy, but it should not be our focus. It is too much effort for too little gain.
Once businesses, government, and nonprofits have adopted an Access Ready policy at the global
level within their scope of influence then we will need to turn to guidance, education, and best
practices at the downstream levels.
At the downstream or local levels is where we must provide the tools necessary to assist IT
departments, ADA coordinators, and program managers as they begin applying the adoption of
As we begin applying this strategic point of play we will also continue to develop the tools and
resources needed at those most important local levels.
Now some will say that engaging at the upper levels of business, government, and the nonprofit
sectors will be harder than the local level advocacy efforts. Yes, but the result is so much greater.
Voting against an Access Ready policy that is well-timed and has cost-effectiveness designed
into it, would be saying that twenty-five percent of the population does not deserve access at the
information technology level. Like the tools mentioned above such proposed policy changes
must be thoughtful and timely so they can take effect in the most efficient ways possible.
The point is not how fast things get done, but that they are on track to get done.
We are not saying delay without cause, but rather act as needed when needed in the most
accessible and economic ways.
We do not expect anyone in the business, government, or the nonprofit sectors to adopt our
sample Access Ready policy, but that it will be used as a guide for the drafting of their own
policies. The important part is that they contain the same elements. We are not as concerned
about how it is said, but rather that it is done in the long run.