The Getting It Right Conference
We have just received three substantial grants, from The Kessler Foundation, the Disability Funders Network, and The Robin Hood Foundation. These will allow us to continue with the next phase of our Sandy disaster relief efforts in New York and New Jersey, replacing durable medical equipment and other assistive/adaptive aids.
The Getting it Right Conference
Portlight.org, Brain Dance Foundation and Weather Underground would like to announce the Getting It Right conference, a two-day training conference on shelter accessibility and appropriate disability protocol for disaster shelter operators and first responders, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia in the early spring of 2013.
Arrangements are being made to hold the conference in the Shepherd Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. They have graciously agreed to host the conference for us, and as the largest rehabilitation facility in the world, Shepherd is ideal. They have been at the forefront of some of the greatest disability rights initiatives of the last 30 years, including the 1996 Paralympic Congress, the Spirit of ADA Torch Relay and ADAPT actions. It is a fabulous facility and attendees will see things there they can't see anywhere else.
The importance of this conference cannot be overstated. Despite efforts to address issues of shelter accessibility and disability protocol, the problems remain. They manifest themselves most clearly at what we like to call the retail level: while agency leaders agree to deal with our issues, the breakdowns occur on the ground at the shelters themselves, and with first responders who just do not understand our situations. The conference will focus on training those in the trenches. Our focus will be on minimal, short term accessibility, as much of the problem has been a purist approach, which is simply unattainable. We want to strive for attainable, effective solutions instead of perfection. We want to focus on simple, short term solutions to shelter transportation and accessibility during disaster situations.
The whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. The conference has inherent importance but also allows a framework around which to leverage our voice, and allows for targeted publicity opportunities, community building and outreach, a webinar element for those unable to attend, and a final report outlining a way forward.
These are legitimate issues and they can be addressed, and this conference will help to outline the problems as well as provide real world solutions.
Over the coming weeks we will be building a website and tightening the scheduling for the conference; please stay tuned to our website and blog for more information and links.