Today I read an interesting blog post titled A Bad Advocate With Good Intentions on the Help Codi Heal blog. As I read this post it occurred to me that almost every blog I have read by a paralyzed person, woman or man, talks about being an advocate for disabilities and/or a motivational speaker. Up until now I was thinking perhaps many become motivational speakers because it’s one of the few things they can do. I enjoyed Hedi’s post because I loved the honesty. And then it hit me, I think I too may be or could be a bad #advocate with good intentions.
We live fairly close to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York. We have attended several concerts there when I was walking and only 1 since becoming #wheelchair bound. Last year (2017) we attended the Rod Stewart concert at Bethel Woods. This was our first time there since being captive to this wheelchair and sadly I immediately became aware of the lack of/no restroom accessibility. Now, do they have “ADA” women’s restrooms (probably a wide stall with a grab bar), but that’s not helpful for a #paralyzed woman who can’t stand. Needless to say this reinforced why I’m extremely hesitant for us to go anywhere or do anything; for us, not being actively participating in life, traveling, attending shows/concerts, visiting local artisan trade shows is very hard so this paralysis lifestyle isn’t what we are used to and is just another burden to try and accept.
Recently while watching the news I learned of a How 6-Year-Old Girl Made Re-located ‘Fearless Girl’ Statue Wheelchair Accessible. At that very moment I came to realize that I had to be or at the very least try to be the voice of change, the voice to encourage more #Family Restrooms in more public places including concert halls, shopping malls, restaurants, amusement parks, etc., etc.
With that I set out by writing my first letter regarding this very important issue. I wrote to #Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in #Bethel, NY. I detailed specifically the need for a #Family Restroom. A few weeks later I received a response from the Director of Operations detailing in great length all the various #ADA requirements they do provide, as well as the many additional accessible (xtra parking spaces, wheelchair rentals, etc.) options that they provide that are not required by the ADA. Oh and they did mention that in early 2019 they plan “assess areas for potential improvements.” So for now we will sit and keep vigilant watch.
So back to why I may be or could be a bad advocate with good intentions, well for me, I’m not shy, ask any of my friends that knows me well. I will only take “excuses” for so long and then I’ll loose it. So, my goal moving forward is to try to spread the word about the importance of #Family Restrooms. Until the day when more locations have accessible Family Restrooms I will continue using the #AccessNow app (GREAT app) to indicate which locations are accessible.
As always, I wish you days filled with wonder – take a minute to wonder what it is that made you smile today! Please feel free to “SHARE” this post with your family/friends! And don’t forget to leave your comments below, we love hearing from you! 🙂