Chris Hinds a Denver City Councilman since 2019 who is a quadriplegic due to a cyclist accident, was forced to climb onstage to give a speech at the Cleo Robinson Dance Theater in Denver. They said they reached out to Hinds asking if he needed anything in preparation for the event but were not informed of anything. Hinds’ camp denies this. The venue was not equipped with a ramp so that Hinds could get onstage to give his speech. When Hinds arrived everyone at the venue was dumbfounded and did not expect that he in fact had a disability. If he had not gone on the stage to give his speech his party would have been fined. There is video footage of his struggle to climb out of his chair onto the stage. They eventually allowed him to stay in his chair and give the speech

In an age where anything and everyone can be researched you would assume the venue would have known about Mr. Hinds disability.. If I were Hinds I would have reached out to the venue or had an assistant reach out to ensure something like this could have been remedied before it escalated. I’m not saying he should have had to do this. Building a ramp on a stage is a small construction issue. It’s not like renovating a building. The theater could have built a ramp on the stage prior to the event had they known. All stages should be equipped with ramps whether they are frequently used or not.

Pictures and video reminded me of the Capitol Crawl when disabled individuals got out of their chairs and crawled up the stairs of the Capitol to protest the lack of accessibility in this country. It’s sad and disheartening to me that thirty years after the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed we are still having these types of issues.

As we get older we all have a greater chance to become disabled. We are shooting our selves in the foot of we do not afford ourselves of the accessibility we need. Whether we walk or roll on a stage we all need access and purposely creating a space of inaccessibility sounds like a form of segregation to me.

When I graduated high school it was 1997 which was only seven years after the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed. The school made sure that a ramp was built for me so that I could roll onstage and get my diploma, which is one of my greatest accomplishments. Is a stage is being built now or in the future the stage should include a ramp for those in wheelchairs. The problem is those who build the stages don’t have people with mobility issues in mind. When building a ramp or a building everyone’s accessibility needs should be considered. When I go into a restroom I always think to myself people with disabilities who will be using this stall should be the one who designed it.

As Hinds stated in his post after the incident “it’s unacceptable that people with disabilities still have to deal with this kind of bullshit.” It’s time for society to prioritize accessibility and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable world for all.