Opinion: Labor Day Suggestions to Increase Access to Work for People with Disabilities

This Labor Day it is a time to recognize both the contributions of those who currently work and to reflect on the barriers to employment that many face, as well as the importance of proper working conditions, wages, and benefits. 

On September 6, Americans will celebrate our annual commemoration of Labor Day with traditional parades and barbecues. Labor Day is a yearly acknowledgement of the American worker which has been observed nationally since 1894. For people with disabilities, the struggle for employment is not new, but it has become more difficult due to the pandemic. In 2020, 17.9% of people with disabilities were employed, which is down from 19.3% in 2019. These figures are much lower than the rate of employment for people without disabilities which was 61.8% in 2020 and 66.3% in 2019.

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Blind City Council Candidate Alex Gray Challenging Mayoral Candidates to Walk Blinded Around City Hall

Do you know what it's like to walk around City Hall Plaza without your vision? At-Large City Council candidate and Jamaica Plain resident Alex Gray does, and he's challenged mayoral candidates and city councilors to experience it firsthand this Wednesday. Gray will be joined by at least six current city councilors, two of which are mayoral candidates -- District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell and At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George. UPDATE: At-Large City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu is also planning on participating. They will be joined by mayoral candidate John Barros, and current District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, District 9 City Councilor Liz Breadon, District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards, and At-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty.

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Opinion: Honoring Boston’s Backbone — Our Labor Force

It has been a year of uncertainty but as the days grow longer and warmer, vaccinations continue and the number of COVID-19 cases trend in the right direction, there is a sense of hope on the horizon. As this time of stress and uncertainty tapers off, we should never forget the people who made a difference during these darkest of times. Just as we honor our veterans of the armed forces on specific holidays throughout the year, from now on we need to always remember that not all heroes wear uniforms. On May 1, we began the month by commemorating May Day or International Workers Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate the gains and struggles made by workers and the labor movement in our world. May Day is especially important this year as a commemoration of the immeasurable contribution that front-line workers made here in Boston and across the globe during this past year. 
When Boston and our country faced the greatest public healthcare emergency in over a century, healthcare professionals showed up day-after-day-after-day.

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Opinion: Marking Developmental Disability Awareness Month During the COVID Crisis

My connection to Best Buddies and the Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Community started with a bit of a selfish desire. I really wanted to meet Tom Brady. I would gladly pedal in a charity bike ride if I got to meet the G.O.A.T. But what came from that initial interest in meeting Brady, turned into one of the most transformative experiences of my life. It started me on a journey that forged life-long friendships with partners cemented by countless hours of training at Regan’s Motivated Fitness in South Boston and across the streets of Greater Boston. Best Buddies International has a mission of enhancing the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities by creating one-to-one opportunities for friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living situations.

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Opinion: Connect the Dots & Continuing to Enrich Boston’s Braille Legacy

In the fifth grade, when most students were thinking of whether they would study Spanish or French heading to middle school, I started a time-consuming, difficult, life-changing project with the incredibly patient Mrs. Rowe. This slow process was one that required me to learn how to place my hands on paper and move them from left-to-right, line-to-line; identifying letters of the alphabet that I had just learned to print a few years earlier. Those letters, that I once traced with a pencil, were now being represented as a series of six raised dots across the page. Combining these movements and the series of dots into words, sentences, and ultimately pages, I learned braille. January marks the annual commemoration of Braille Literacy Month.

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