by Bernice Mascher, co-chair of LACDMH’s Cultural Competency Committee
Prepare for it, and participate in the many events being offered—past and present.
On Thursday, May 19, 2022, GAAD wants to get everyone involved in learning more about digital access and inclusion. In a world that relies heavily on digital technology, even more so since COVID-19 hit, there is still a vast need to improve accessibly in all sectors of society, especially for the one billion people with disabilities or impairments. This annual global event highlights the need to give every user a “first-rate digital experience on the web,” and they invite everyone to join them in finding or submitting an event to experience “first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof).” The ongoing initiatives of the GAAD Foundation (https://gaad.foundation) also invites all organizations to join them in a long-term commitment to improve digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities as a core requirement.
GAAD started back in 2011, with a single blog post by the Los Angeles web-based developer and current Co-Founder, Joe Devon. By chance, Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto, came across Joe’s blog through a tweet and immediately joined forces with him to work out this idea of a Global Accessibility Day. Today, Jennison is also a Co-Founder of GAAD, and he shares an interview by Dr. Jonathan Hassell about the origin and intent of GAAD on the website here: https://accessibility.day/about/
GAAD demonstrates how digital accessibility continues to be a big challenge, a basic need, and a civil right by people with disabilities, who remain underserved among today’s digital products and output media. Inclusive design and technology can impact their lives, even in the simple use and development of an app, or a document that is accessible, legible and readable by every user. All staff members and community stakeholders in the Department of Mental Health can grow in this area of knowledge as well. GAAD presents an amazing opportunity to learn and experience the challenges and wonders of accessibility, and it is too good to pass by.
To begin, check out the stats and some of the videos on the GAAD home page to learn more: https://accessibility.day. They also offer a list of ways you can help, including setting up your own event to educate others. With Mental Health month coming up, maybe this may inspire a few more participants to become involved to serve and improve accessibility and the mental health of others in these trying times.
Many designers, developers, and usability professionals join or create events to learn and test the accessibility of their digital pages. Others, who set up documents, pdfs, videos, and blogs are welcomed to grow in their own awareness on how to improve accessibility, and use the tools and resources available on their site: https://accessibility.day/resources/. The list of events and activities from past and present events are inspiring, and they will build awareness and innovate accessibility. For instance, did you know pdfs, once thought to be inherently non-accessible, have advanced to become more accessible? This topic and others have been created to educate all of us in how to both prepare, and test and learn about the technical advancements in accessibility for all. Check out the list of the many free events, both past and present, that are highlighted on their website now: https://accessibility.day/events/
This event has been recommended to you by Bernice Mascher, Co-Chair of the Cultural Competency Committee in LACDMH.
Send feedback to DMHCC@dmh.lacounty.gov.