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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Obama Inauguration Today

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. It's also Inauguration Day for President Obama.

It's 5 am Eastern Time as I'm writing this, and CNN is on my television. Even at this early hour at the newscasters are talking about people gathering on the National Mall so that they can have a spot from which to view the Swearing-In Ceremony and Presidential Address seven hours from now. Even though there's only supposed to be half the people at today's Inauguration as there were at Obama's Inauguration in 2009, apparently there are still people that feel strongly enough about it to get there before the crack of dawn to get a good seat (estimated 800 000 to show up today).

Accessibility at Inauguration Day

I didn't give much thought in 2009 to accessibility during Inauguration Day, which seems odd to me now (not that I was there). But someone thought about it this time, according to USA Today. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Planning (JCCIP) made the following improvements to the Inauguration Day (and Week-end) proceedings to better accommodate the needs of disabled people:

  • Closed captioning of  Inauguration Day available on Smartphone

  • More manpower to assist with transportation and general information concerns for those trying to get around the city with disabilities (there are a very small number of accessible taxis available in DC)

  • 200 volunteers to assist physically disabled people to get on and off the Metro

  • Clearly marked accessible seating at the Inauguration for those using wheelchairs

  • FM devices for those that need an audio description of the parade

There's also a website with information about accessibility on Inauguration Day: http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/2013/accessibility

This is the sort of thing that I like to hear. Everyone should have the chance to participate in a day like this.

Full article here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/01/18/obama-inauguration-disability/1846103/

Good Start, Obama...Keep It Up!

Congratulations to President Obama. I hope that a commitment to improving accessibility and creating opportunities for disabled people to participate in meaningful ways in all aspects of American life remains a part of his administration in its second term.

It's not just Americans that are watching.

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