This was a tough one, even though I wouldn’t have to go very far to find some examples of injustice. But it’s a snowy, freezing cold day and I didn’t plan on going out much.
My sister-in-law had to start using a motorized wheelchair about 18 months ago; she is dealing with an undiagnosed neurological condition which along with a host of other symptoms, has left her with extreme muscle weakness.
This is a picture of some of the steps at Five Oaks, a United Church education and retreat centre. To be fair to Five Oaks, most of the facilities on their extensive grounds are accessible, they even have an accessible playground. This picture is not indicative of their commitment to accessibility, rather it is being used as an illustration of a common place barrier.
Since my sister-in-law has been in a wheelchair, I have become much more aware of how just a few steps makes the difference between accessibility and barrier. There are so few places that she can easily get in and out of, and the energy that it takes can be overwhelming. And for people who live in Canada, snowy weather can make sidewalks impassable and there is little commitment to make them passable for those with limited mobility.
While my sister-in-law’s wheelchair has given her some mobility, it doesn’t address the wider societal issues of accessibility. And that is an injustice.