Changes to everyday life brought on by COVID-19 have many believing our post-quarantine life will be a “new normal”. For people with disabilities, many of the moves to virtual/remote participation are actually adjustments they have been asking to have for years. Prior to pandemic restrictions there were already several groups of people who could not join the in-person gatherings many of us are missing right now. Either due to physical impairments or neurological differences, lack of adequate adjustments, and/or the financial burdens of systemic unemployment, people with disabilities have long been excluded from what have previously been considered essential in-person-only activities.
If we assume that in-person events are the only way to conduct meaningful work and socializing, then we automatically discriminate against those whose disability prevents attending.
What if, instead, we challenge ourselves to do what we can all imagine and see our culture slowly embracing? Quarantine from a deadly virus is certainly a tragic event and not to be undermined. However, wouldn’t it be great if out of tragedy emerged a world more inclusive of its citizens — all citizens?