yoocan - Rebecca Minna - Wife of SCI starts a movement about awareness of access barriers

Wife of SCI starts a movement about awareness of access barriers

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Rebecca Minna

Did you know...

That there are TWO types of handicapped spots? There are! One is your genetic spot and the other is for “Van Accessible”. These Van-accessible spots are made a bit larger for those that need the extra space with wheelchairs and wheelchair vans. Did you know that there are FEWER van accessible spots than the generic spots? There are. And why is that important? Let me digress a bit about when I became acutely aware that this was a problem...

Lets get a little clarity in the subject of access

Do you remember when there was that joke in the disability community “At least we have good parking”? That is no longer relevant. Great concert seats or any special treatment is also out the window. And by no means am I saying we should get special treatment. What I am saying is that at one time, only five years ago in the recent past, I experienced great parking, great event seats, and yes, people catered to my husband's comfort in most places we went. Now, that’s almost non-existent. With a growing disability community, it’s understandable. In the past we were an anomaly. People remembered us because we were rare. But with Disability social empowerment movements people aren’t ashamed anymore, and that’s awesome! What that also means is less access because the laws are now, I believe, out of date....so like I said, I digress but it was to enlighten you as to why we can NEVER find a parking spot for our accessible van! Now roll with me to the next paragraph on why that is important...

He came inches away from death....

There are a few hacks when you can’t find a “van accessible” parking spot with the extra room for a ramp and wheelchair. You can parkway in the boonies of the parking lot and take two spaces. This isn’t a problem because it’s legal, but I have been yelled at, and my car has been keyed for that maneuver simply because it’s not common knowledge that it IS legal. Or you can pull this maneuver, which on this day of great awakening for me, I did: you pull in halfway into a regular car space and kick that ramp out. Husband exits and waits for you to finish parking. On this day I pulled halfway into a regular space that also happened to have an open spot next to my van on the side where the ramp comes out. When you pull this maneuver, your car hangs out a bit in the drive path. This day I had an impatient driver who was coming from the drivers' side of my van (so he could not see my husband exiting, only saw that I was half in the drive lane) he was so impatient that he yelled, scowled, honked and proceeded to rapidly pull around me and into the spot where my husband was. BY INCHES he missed hitting my husband and ran over our ramp. This is when I knew I had to create awareness...

FortheloveofParking & Access was born

I started talking to lawyers, I wrote the DMV, congress, and nothing. After months of probing for information a reliable and experienced source said “ you have to create a diary of need!” When the pioneers of the ADA began their fight for equality, that’s exactly what they did. They kept a LITERAL diary of each incident they encountered. But that was over 30 years ago and we now have the internet! So what does any ambitious do-gooder do? Start a FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM page! I’m a photographer and content creator so I had to incorporate my skills - I made stickers that I attach to a 4x6 card that read “you’ve been featured on FortheloveofParking, log on to find out why” I affix this to their windshield and proceed to upload a photo of their access incompetence and I write them a love letter about how they affected the disability community that has a little sarcasm to it to keep it real. And this is my diary of need.

What is the end game? #dontparklikeapunk

I encourage others who I call #♿️Homies, to take pictures of their own and either tag me in their post so I can share on the site, or send it to me and I’ll write a love letter on their behalf. But if your really brave, you can buy a tee-shirt (Proceeds go to the creation of cards and stickers) and I will send you a packet that has our mission, instructions on how to be courteous with your stickers (slap ups), and of course stickers and cards. What’s the end game? Creating such a huge diary of need that we can: 1. Make it so the DMV incorporates handicapped parking rules and info in the written test. 2. Have a separate placard made for those of us who need the “van accessible” space 3. And get the term “van accessible” changed to a broader name. Because some wheelchair users and people with assistive devices drive regular cars! I’ve also started an online , educational, monthly zoom meeting that gives the disability community access to meaningful and relevant content where I have expert guests on subjects that are specific to our world. My hope is to expand on the original ADA’s fight for equality and have it grow with our growing community, giving everyone access to a life with fewer barriers.

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