‘This is going to help improve accessibility’: Disability commission gathers for first time since pandemic

Committee members gathered Friday evening at the Gillard Center for the first time since 2020 to re-establish the mayor’s commission on disability issues.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 10:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2022 at 12:06 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Committee members gathered Friday evening at the Gillard Center for the first time since 2020 to re-establish the mayor’s commission on disability issues.

Commission members discussed accessibility for disabled people regarding sidewalks, public transportation, accessible bathrooms, swimming pools and building layouts throughout the city.

The committee first started in 2000 with most members personally having disabilities that can provide feedback from personal experiences. Alex Jackson joined the commission in 2016 and hopes the group can fight for the rights of disabled people.

“If you don’t know someone with a disability or you’re not yourself have a disability, then you may not realize how much is involved. What it takes for us to just have a simple parking space, making sure that someone is not parking on the blue access lines and handicap space,” Jackson said. “The more we educate and advocate on these issues, I think this is going to help improve accessibility for everyone.”

The City of Charleston’s ADA Coordinator, Janet Schumacher, says she is very excited to have the commission back. She emphasized the importance of the contributions anyone from the public can provide.

“Charleston is a big tapestry of all sorts of interests in people, and it’s stronger when we’re woven tightly together. People with disabilities are part of that tapestry,” Schumacher said.

With Friday being the first meeting of the re-establishment, commission members plan to address common accessibility problems in the city.

“It’s a way for us to show the legislators and those who enforce the laws that these are things that we need to be able to get around town and to enjoy the city just as anyone else would,” Alex Jackson said.

If you are interested in joining the commission, contact Janet Schumacher at 843-577-1389. The committee normally meets on the fourth Friday of each month, but due to the holidays, will not be meeting again until January 27, 2023.