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I Have a Dream, Too…

January 21, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

On this day commemorating Martin Luther King’s birthday, I thought I would try my hand at penning an I Have a Dream speech of my own. I will recite this speech for the first time on the Desert Cafe show coming up at 22:00 UTC on ACB Radio Interactive today.

I have a dream that…

  • We will be considered first as fully living and breathing human beings and citizens of our nations of birth, afforded the same rights and obligations as all others irrespective of our disability.
  • We will understand our own value to society, and will learn to take the initiative, becoming more assertive as a blind community so as to stand up for our rights to accessibility and equal participation.
  • We will ask for and insist not on hand outs but only on the hand ups we require in order to be productive and self-supporting.
  • All blind and visually impaired people will do their best to take their own initiative, volunteering and working to improve their own lives rather than unproductively sitting at home collecting government checks and other public assistance benefits.

I have a dream that…

  • We will be granted the opportunity to rise or fall, succeed or fail based on our aptitude, the quality of our character and the merits of our actions, rather than negative assumptions and stereotypes or the inaccessibility of a piece of technology.
  • The Internet will represent the same opportunities to learn, grow and participate for us as it already does for sighted people all over the world.
  • Segregation and “no blind people allowed” signs such as those presented by inaccessible, visual only CAPTCHAs and other visual multifactor authentication systems will be torn down and replaced with inclusive solutions that deliver security and accessibility for all, regardless of sensory ability.
  • Our ability to enjoy our lives, learn and work will be dictated by our own characteristics, rather than by the actions of others, inaccessibility of technology or misconceptions surrounding our presumed inabilities.
  • Agencies, assistive technology companies, consumer groups and nonprofit organizations in the blindness field will work always for the best interests of blind people, avoiding, at all costs, any and all undue influences that may interfere with that goal.
  • Blind and visually impaired people world wide will stand up and advocate for the accessibility of technology and transportation alternatives we must have in order to succeed and survive!

We can make this dream come true only with constant, collective action on the part of members of the connected online blind community and those friends and relatives who care about us. I implore all of you who hear or read this speech to please do everything you can to make a difference by expanding and participating in all positive efforts to evangelize accessibility!

Categories: accessibility

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