Letters to the Editor

Give those who have disabilities greater access

Many of us barely think twice about wheelchair ramps or tactile paving — those yellow bumpy panels on the edge of a sidewalk — but it’s hard to imagine a world without them.

It’s only been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to protect the civil rights of people with physical and mental disabilities. While it seems as though we’ve come a long way, organizations, businesses and government still have a lot of work to do to ensure that all Americans have full access and can fully participate in every aspect of society.

Recently, the clothing chain Hollister agreed to make its doorways wheelchair accessible following a federal judge’s order. But progress isn’t always prompted by legal action.

The Miami Center for Architecture and Design, in partnership with EXILE Books and Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, just created a first-of-its-kind architecture show designed for people who are blind or visually impaired to “see” Miami’s skyline.

We need more initiatives like this that go beyond the basics of just having wheelchair accessibility or sign-language interpretations.

That’s why the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts recently hosted the ADA Silver Anniversary Summit to provide an opportunity for open discussion with national, regional and local experts about how new technologies can give those with disabilities greater access to the performing arts.

I urge every Miami business owner, community organization and government official to think about accessibility and what they can do to improve accommodations and provide equal opportunity for everyone, including those with disabilities.

What should our city look and feel like in 2040 at the golden anniversary of ADA? Miami should feel like home for all who live and visit here.

John Richard, president and CEO, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts,