Business Web Practices Speaker Series at Clark College
My Liberal Bubble
My talk for the following day was titled "Convergence of Digital Marketing and Accessibility" and I felt honored for my invitation from Bruce Elgort to come and speak with his students. I was mostly ready and planned to add the finishing touches to my deck while watching the election results pour in favorably for Hillary Clinton. Instead, I did the work while crying and working through the wee hours. It felt like a true slap in the face.
One of the (many) reasons I was upset: fear of losing so much of the progress we have made in web accessibility, thanks to the support of the Department of Justice. My fears were summed up nicely by web accessibility lawyer Lainey Feingold's alarming blog post from earlier that week.
Student Push Back
What can I say. November 9th was a weird and surprising day for many of us, especially for folks like me who live in a liberal Oregon bubble. How "apropos" that my presentation the following day was just across the Columbia river, in Vancouver Washington. Vancouver is more conservative and this is where my wake-up call began. I was not there to get into politics with students but I experienced a subtle shift in (my) consciousness in that room at two particular moments of the video you can see:
- When I talk about how employment rates for people with disabilities need to improve, the concept of HR recruiters "battling for talent" did not resonate with this crowd. Unemployment rates ARE at an all time low - but of course this is an oversimplified stat.
- Also, I pointed to opportunity in the accessibility market because the generation with the wealth (boomers) are aging into disability. I got push back on this point as well with the point being made that it depends where you are. Interesting!
I love presenting to a lively crowd! Take a look at the video and note I limited myself to one subtle election related rib around minute 26.
Conversations "Across the Aisle"
I haven't come to terms with the results of the election but I am newly inspired to engage in conversations with folks from different backgrounds and political persuasions. I'm listening to pundits I disagree with and asking lots of questions to learn more about the points of view from people who voted differently than I did. Sometimes I joke that I am in the perpetual "negotiation" phase of grief. I don't have predictions about how things are going to end up over the next year or so for web accessibility but I am glad to be learning about different points of view and I am grateful for the students at Clark College for being real with their own lived experiences.