We all belong: Creating an accessible world

We All Belong Aaa10276 Large

A Smart Monday snapshot of IMEX America’s AVoice4All in association with Destination Toronto.

There’s something special about a panel of passionate people meeting at a purpose-driven crossroads. AccessNow’s Maayan Ziv, Google’s Megan Henshall and Gokul Krishnan, and Storycraft Lab’s Natalie Fulgencio-Turner joined moderator Trevor Lui of Quell Now for an open debate on the current and future state of accessibility—an area where all of us have much to learn.

“How do you make the invisible visible?” asked Megan, as the panel explored the challenges of creating accessible environments.

The diversity of the speakers gave the debate a fresh perspective and promoted a 360-degree view. From learning styles, physical disabilities and the colorful and varied lived experiences that influence how we perceive our environments, the session left no accessible stone unturned.

Vulnerability and empathy were at the heart of the session. Natalie, director of Creative Strategy at Storycraft Lab, initiated an anonymous discussion using sticky notes and open-ended questions. Being in a group of unfamiliar people in an industry education session might be the last place you would feel comfortable enough to open up about the times you’ve felt less-than, left out or in the corner. Yet the kindness that met each answer created a learning experience that enveloped the true meaning of belonging and accessibility. This exercise in openness revealed how we can create space for ourselves and others.

Maayan, CEO and founder of AccessNow, gave the audience permission to "show up and make a statement by just existing. To say: ‘I'm here. And I have something to say.’"            

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