It’s Giving Tuesday (at least for a little while longer), and in recognition of the occasion I wanted to profile some organizations and projects people could consider donating to, whether those donations come in dollars, cents, clothing, time, or energy. The organizations I chose to profile do work focused on inclusive design, disability rights, and empowerment.
The Institute for Human Centered Design - The IHCD recognizes that design plays a role in expanding opportunities and experiences for people of all ages and abilities. Put simply: They get that design is political and do awesomely cool stuff. http://www.adaptenv.org/about-us/make-donation
The Accessible Icon Project - The international access symbol of a white figure on a blue background of a wheelchair user sitting passively and unnaturally in what looks to be an outdated wheelchair is old. It misrepresents the active, vibrant lives that people with disabilities lead, The Accessible Icon Project understands that visual representation is important and provides people with supplies to transform the old access symbol into an icon that is active, engaged. http://www.accessibleicon.org/donate.html
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network - ASAN is an organization run by Autistic people for by Autistic people. They advance disability rights and nuerodiversity through policy advocacy, awareness and education efforts, and community organizing. They have a host of fantastic projects, among them the Autism Campus Inclusion Summer Leadership Academy to develop emerging leaders with Autism and the Loud Hands Anthology, which features essays written by Autistic people about their experiences. http://autisticadvocacy.org/get-involved/
Career Gear - One of the issues that came up at my talk on Sole Searching was the costliness of professional, fashionable shoes and the classicism that is present but often unspoken in discussions of accessible design and fashion. The barriers to accessing “professional” attire, costliness being just one of many, are incredibly important to recognize when we acknowledge that an overwhelming over-representation of people with disabilities live in poverty and are unemployed. One audience member during asked essentially, “How do people experiencing the barriers poverty creates get started with shoes?” My answer was, “Through organizations like Career Gear.” Career Gear provides low income men seeking to enter the workforce with business appropriate clothing. Many of them are men with disabilities. Their offering of a suit and shoes is basic but powerful. http://www.careergear.org/get-involved/
Dress For Success - Dress for Success provides similar services to Career Gear, but their activities are targeted towards women. They have turned Giving Tuesday into Giving Shoes Day. I would definitely donate a pair of shoes to this organization, but I don’t think they would want any of my old shoes… http://www.dressforsuccess.org/supportdfs.aspx
Museo Frida Kahlo - Museo Frida Kahlo put together the amazing exhibit Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo, a fashion exhibit built around themes ethnicity and disability. (We finally see her shoes!) I hope that they can put on more exhibits like this and/or get this exhibit to travel. I also think that there needs to be very intentional support of museums that promote disability history and disability material culture. http://bit.ly/1k8NXaJ
What organizations do you recommend giving to?