Disability Pride and Heritage Month celebrates virtually, highlights online accessibility

During the month of October, Northern Arizona University is celebrating Disability Pride and Heritage Month to engage the community in dialogue around disability, inclusivity and accessibility.

The Commission on Disability Access and Design (CDAD) and NAU4All, a student organization, have designed events to spark conversations about how students, faculty and staff can make a difference assuring equitable participation for people with disabilities.

“Disability Pride and Heritage Month events highlight the contributions individuals with disabilities have made, and continue to make,” said Jamie Axelrod, director of Disability Resources at NAU and Chair of the Commission on Commissions. “Individuals with disabilities have a history of being excluded and removed from our communities. Having a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of individuals with disabilities, and remember the discrimination the disability community faced, is how we keep our history and heritage alive.”

Due to COVID-19, this year’s events will be held virtually and will focus on learning about the accessibility of virtual environments. Such events include a virtual scavenger hunt, a series of workshops about websites and social media accessibility and a chance to look at history through the eyes of Disability Rights Movement leaders featuring an evening with guest speaker and disability rights advocate Judy Heumann.

See below for the complete schedule of events.

Oct. 9-31: Virtual Accessibility Scavenger Hunt

CDAD and NAU4All are hosting an inaugural virtual accessibility scavenger hunt. Complete tasks to find clues that serve as a guide for learning about accessibility in a virtual environment. Prizes can be won along the way! Sign-up to participate online.

Oct. 16-30: Accessibility in Design Workshop Series

All workshops will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Zoom with meeting ID 87554661045 and password: Design.

  • Oct. 16 – Accessibility in WordPress Workshop
    • Rye Heidinger, applications systems analyst with NAU ITS, and Lauren Copeland-Glenn, program manager from the Equity and Access Office, will discuss two important features in WordPress to ensure websites are compliant and ready for people who use assistive technology. Topics include how to create and add alt text to images and how to use meaningful text for hyperlinks.
  • Oct. 23 – Alt text, closed captions and emojis—oh my!: How to create #AccessibleSocialMedia
    • This workshop, taught by NAU Social’s Maria DeCabooter and NAU Communications’ McKenzie McLoughlin, addresses which social platforms pass the accessibility test and will share tips to make social media content accessibility friendly by diving into emojis, captions, alt text, hashtags, font and more.
  • Oct. 30 – Accessibility by Design: Simple ways to make your site welcoming to all
    • Jason Robinson, web design team lead at NAU ITS, will lead a discussion on color contrast, color blindness, text size and common-sense layout for websites to make them more accessible and useful to as many people as possible.

Oct. 21 – Crimp Camp Screening with Judy Heumann

From 4-7 p.m., the Netflix documentary, Crimp Camp, will be screened followed by a conversation with Huemann. Crip Camp chronicles the disability rights movement beginning with a summer at Camp Jened, a “loose, free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities,” and features Heumann. Registration is required to join this Zoom event.

Oct. 28 – A Conversation on Disability

At 4 p.m., professor Matthew Wangeman and coordinator John McDermott, both with the NAU Institute for Human Development, will lead a dialogue about disability that values openness and honesty and encourages those who have been afraid to ask questions to step up and ask. Register to receive a confirmation email with a unique link for participation.

For more information or questions, contact the Commission on Disability Access and Design by calling (928) 523-8686 or emailing Commission.DisabilityAccessandDesign@nau.edu.