Considering the needs of everyone

by Katie Moore (Vernon)

Katie created Okanagan Accessibility to recognize accessible businesses and advocate for greater accessibility throughout the Okanagan.

My name is Katie Moore. I am 34 years old, and I live in the beautiful Okanagan. I moved to Canada from the U.K. nearly 11 years ago with my parents, two brothers, two sisters and my labrador.

I was born with a rare genetic condition that means I have some challenges with everyday life. More recently, I received a diagnosis that explains why my muscles are getting weaker. Since becoming reliant on using a wheelchair or walker to get around, I have found that my eyes have been opened to the difficulties faced by those with mobility challenges.

An accessible future to me will look like this: I will no longer need to research ahead of time if a building is accessible for me and my wheelchair. I will already be confident that public places in my community will have made accommodations to be inclusive to everyone, no matter their mobility level.

The needs of people with diverse abilities will be considered when planning new buildings, community events, and transit options. Existing buildings with poor accessibility will be given the information they need to make changes, and hopefully be able to access grants to encourage these changes to be made.

Accessibility to me means independence. It means inclusion for all. I want the world to celebrate individuals with diverse abilities and the many amazing talents we have, which contribute so much to our communities. Accessibility means any barriers to living a fulfilled and happy life have been removed, and we are given the same opportunities as anybody else.

In 2016, I formed a group called Okanagan Accessibility. Our aim was to promote the inclusion of diverse individuals and advocate for a more accessible community. We write letters to businesses and public places that we believe have made great adaptations, such as automatic door openers or accessible washrooms. We also send them a sticker with our logo, which they can display in their front window if they choose to. The idea is that people will see the sticker and know this means the building has been given a ‘thumbs up’ for its accessibility.

In October 2019, I was honoured to be presented with a Widening Our World (WOW) award from CLBC for my efforts in making my community more inclusive to all, due to my work with Okanagan Accessibility.

Here’s to an accessible future for everybody!

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