8

Tick Box Tokenism

AS

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to express my total disappointment at your neglectful disregard to the signage on the main entrance to the community hall.

Last week I was pleased to read of the coffee morning starting close to my home. My life can be quite isolating and it gave me something to look forward to. The chance to meet a few neighbours and maybe play a game of chess.

On Wednesday I set off from home in good spirits. I gave myself time enough not to rush and to arrive for about 10:00am. Sadly it was as I reached the entrance to the hall that my heart sank. The promise of an open door was immediately turned to upset when I saw the only access to the hall was up four steps!

I could see no alternative access. What I did see was a faded symbol of a wheelchair on one of the doors. This only added insult to injury. I assume it might have originally had some words or a phone number next to it but all I could see were some blobs of blutac.

I was outside the hall with no means of getting in. With no access and no phone number I sat outside in the cold for a while but saw no one who could or would help. I had no choice but to return home in the rain.

By failing to provide proper information for people with disabilities it is not only neglectful but insulting. I assume that the original sign was put in place to tick a box for disabled access to the building. Once the box was ticked it seems that any meaningful information has since been overlooked or deemed unimportant.

Why there is a faded sign of a wheelchair with no other information is anyones guess? Symbolic perhaps of the value placed on less abled citizens?

While you read this letter I hope you will reflect on just how I might have felt on Wednesday. How rather than having a nice morning I was actually prevented from getting in. Clearly you cannot be bothered to cater for people who are disabled. For a community event, held at a community hall I had hoped for more. My anticipation of a friendly welcome and a hot cup of coffee turned into disappointment, resentment and anger.

As a person with disabilities I have over the years sadly got used to tick box tokenism. You and I know that an apology is too little too late. Your negligence has left me feeling upset and isolated.

In 2018 there should be no reason for me to write this letter. I hope your reply will offer some meaningful reassurance that in future myself or anyone turning up to the community hall won’t have to go through what I did this week.

Regards, Anthony Dunnell

Interstellar Asteroid

EHY

Oumuamua. It was hard to pronounce but that was us; the only space/jazz band in the city (or the galaxy?!?). Our rehearsal space was in an old church that had been converted into a community and drop-in advice centre, and as usual I was late. As I walked through the door the rest of the group, who were already warming up, gave me a sarcastic round of applause. There was; Emma the flautist and our inspiration, Trev our solid bass player, Kizzy the intrepid drummer, Pete who blew the trumpet, Marianne on tuneful guitar, Tom the roadie, van driver and all round-sound man all looking at me Amla on electric piano and moog synthesizer.

We had formed about three months ago after we had reached back to earth from our year long journey through the cosmos courtesy of some alien jazz fans from a small planet somewhere the other side of Sirius the dog star. They had picked us up (some would say abducted us) one cold night after a gig at The Moonlight Club when we were all very drunk. When we came round the next morning, they proved to be very friendly and gave us a magic hangover cure, although they wouldn’t tell us exactly where they were from as they didn’t want “any earthlings coming and messing up our pristine planet !”. Their spaceship ran on solar hydrogen fuel and we ended up having an amazing cultural exchange. They showed us black holes, beautiful nebulas and the secrets of intergalactic travel and we played them jazz.

After they had dropped us off and said their goodbyes, we all resolved to form a band to try and recapture the sights and sounds of our wonderful trip. We were now rehearsing our epic opus, a spectacular three hour long space jazz symphony entitled “Interstellar Asteroid”, and it was going really well. Every time we played together we were reliving those incredible moments in space that no-one else on earth had ever seen. And we passionately wanted to share those experiences with as many people as possible through the inspirational and moving medium of melodic music. At the end of the rehearsal we all smiled at each other. We were ready!!

Open Door |© Same Scene Different Story | SDSC00341

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