Rhode Island Victory


No, I?m not talking about the election, I?m talking about an access victory of sorts.

A few years ago I got a letter from Marie Perna telling me about her latest access project. Marie lives in Rhode Island and she was very frustrated about the lack of access information available on local restaurants. She shared her frustration with her MS support group and she found out she was not alone. One thing led to another and her MS Support group jumped into action. A fact-finding team was organized and they set out to complete access surveys on restaurants throughout the state. Once the surveys were completed, the information was sorted and compiled in an organized format.

The result was the first edition of the Rhode Island Accessibility Guide, which was released in the Summer of 2003 and updated last fall. Since they had no budget, copies of the first edition were sold for $2 to cover expenses. Of course I ran an article about it in Emerging Horizons. I also stated in the article that Marie was looking for a funding source for the second edition.

Fast forward to this year. I got a call from Marie yesterday. Since we last spoke she received funding and in-kind support from The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and VSA Arts of Rhode Island. Because of this support she is able to distribute the 2004 edition of the Rhode Island Accessibility Guide free of charge. And considering the state of our fiscal health in the US, I consider that a significant victory.

People often ask me if we are really making any progress towards a more accessible society. I tell them that we are indeed moving forward in that respect. Just look at Maire. She?s proof positive of our collective progress.