Hundreds of people filled the North Light Court at City Hall on July 1 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and difference it has made in their life and the lives of so many millions more. Hosted by the Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) and the Community Alliance for Disability Advocates (CADA), attendees were greeted by Mayor Ed Lee, City Administrator Naomi Kelly, former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. Nina G acting as Mistress of Ceremonies invited speakers to recount the history of the ADA movement, with strong roots in San Francisco and honored three long time advocates with special Disability Champion Awards — Donna Calame, Steve Crabiel and Herb Levine. Inspiring words by Supervisor Eric Mar and performances by Access SFUSD help cap the program with energy and the enthusiasm that carried over for the rest of the event. You can view a replay of the event on SFGovTV and enjoy a few pictures below. You can see more if you go to the Keep Us Connected Campaign on Facebook. Kudos to Carla Johnson, the MOD staff and the rest of the team that helped create such a memorable event.
When members of the St. Francis Episcopal Church participated in a Connections for Healthy Aging workshop, one topic that kept coming up was the lack of transportation options in their neighborhood. Taxis tended not to arrive, or they came so late that people missed their doctors’ appointments. And the newer options required apps on a Smartphone.
The members organized a group to address the problem — including meetings with Supervisor Yee and contacting public and private transportation providers. And on June 26, they hosted a Transportation Fair with ten transportation exhibitors, including some who cater specifically to seniors and people with disabilities.
The Fair was a great opportunity for approximately 100 neighbors to meet transportation providers, hear a little bit about each one, gather information, and get answers to any questions or concerns.
The providers in attendance were: BART, San Francisco MTA (including SFMTA Accessible Services and SF Paratransit), FlyWheel, Luxor Cabs, Yellow Cab, Lyft, Lift Hero, and Silver Ride.
CLC was also there to share information about Connections for Healthy Aging workshops and computer classes, as well as to help anyone who wanted to download transportation apps.
In commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the ADA!
WHEN: Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: San Francisco City Hall: North Light Court — 1 Dr. Carlton P. Goodlett Place
HOSTED BY: S.F. Mayor’s Office on Disability and Community Alliance for Disability Advocates (CADA).
Community Living Campaign is one in a long list of sponsors — to see the complete list or for more information, visit ada25bayarea.org.
Last week, we delivered over 2,000 postcards from people all over the City with our message to City Hall: It’s time to close the digital divide for seniors and adults with disabilities. Staying connected and engaged is key to reducing isolation, promoting brain fitness and lifelong learning, keeping us connected to our health providers and to long term services and supports that help us age in place.
Call or email your Supervisor TODAY (contact info here) and tell your Supervisor and the Mayor why they need to pass a budget that includes more training and support through the Department of Aging and Adult Services’ SF Connected Program.
San Francisco Needs to Invest in People, Not Just Computer Systems and Software
Earlier this year, the Mayor developed and the Supervisors approved a budget for $155 million to upgrade computer systems and software to help the City better serve and communicate with the public. But these upgrades won’t help those in the public who don’t have the computer skills or access to find this information. Without more investment in computer training for seniors and adults with disabilities, the digital divide will keep growing.
Expanding SF Connected Increases Computer Access AND Creates Job Opportunities for San Franciscans
SF Connected, the Public Libraries, and other technology centers provide access, but what is missing is a bolder program for training and deploying trainers, tutors, and volunteer coordinators to expand the use of these neighborhood-based resources. And increased funding for training has another benefit: new, part-time employment opportunities for more tech-savy seniors and people with disabilities who have been left out of sectors where jobs are increasing, like tech and construction.
Your San Francisco Neighbors Are Being Left Behind
Consider this…The City is poised to invest $223,398,000 to upgrade its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for its hospital and clinics over the next 5 years. Part of the Affordable Care Act requirements are that patients be given the tools and support to help them access their records. But a recent UCSF survey in SF health clinic waiting rooms found that a staggering 40% of patients don’t use email even though 71% would like to use it to communicate with their health care providers. Even among those who do use email, only 59% are able to do so from home.
Ask the Mayor and Supervisors to Invest More in Closing the Digital Divide
San Francisco is held up as a model for technological innovation and cutting edge programs, yet the most recent citizen’s survey showed a huge gap between the have’s and the have-not’s — as some communities 30% to 40% lack Internet access. Those who lack access tend to have lower income, are typically older, less educated and people of color.
We are hoping increased funding to bridge the digital divide will show the City is taking one more small step better share the prosperity. Please call the Mayor and the Supervisors Today!
This week we kicked off the next phase of the Keep Us Connected Campaign with a workshop for trainers and participants, as well as the first few meetings with Supervisors and their staff.
During April, we will be working to show the Mayor and Supervisors how important it is to support and expand SF Connected so that we can make sure seniors and people with disabilities have computer access and training. In this year’s City Budget, we need them to continue funding SF Connected and commit $750,000 more annually beyond current baseline funding. This commitment by our leaders would mean:
- More computer class locations and more computer trainers and tutors, especially tutors who are bilingual and have experience with assistive technology to help those with vision or hearing loss, or other disabilities.
More neighborhood tech support events to help people use and maintain their own equipment.
- More computer labs fully up and running, with funds for items like printer cartridges, paper, mice, headphones hand modems.
- More resources and better coordinated efforts to bring digital access to all with support for the San Francisco Tech Council, a newly launched nonprofit-government-business partnership.
How You Can Help
Share Your Story to make SF Connected more than an abstract program. Why does computer access and training matter to you? How has computer access and training improved your life? (Download advocacy tips here-PDF) Stay tuned for hearings and other events where you can share your stories.
Help Tell Our Stories on Social Media. Share your story on the Keep Us Connected Facebook page! (You don’t even need to be on Facebook to help.) See our social media page and contacts page to learn more.
Pitch in on Mondays, 9:30–11:30 at 360 Valencia Street. Drop by on Mondays to check in about progress, coordinate next steps, put together materials, and other activities. Come join in!
Schedule a Free Advocacy Workshop. If you host a site or belong to a group with many seniors or people with disabilities, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415–821-1003 ext. 1 to schedule a free advocacy workshop. Help support the Keep Us Connected Campaign and learn skills to help promote other issues important to you!
Invite your friends and neighbors to get involved. Closing the digital divide for seniors and people with disabilities reduces isolation, keeps neighbors engaged in their communities, and improves health and well-being. See our resource page for materials to share.