By Global Grassroots Support Network GGSN, Isabelle Grondin Hernandez, Kenzie Harris
This guide was developed to support activists in making their spaces, events, meetings and communications more accessible, in order to ensure that everyone is welcome and encouraged to join a movement for justice in whatever way they can! This guide includes definitions of accessibility, considerations for accessible events, communication and content, creating an accessible culture and other suggestions related to creating a space that is inviting to all.
Quick link to the full, most updated version of the guide HERE.
Where this resource comes from
This resource was developed from knowledge compiled by Canada’s Climate Justice Organizing HUB (the HUB). The information included comes from resources written by movement thinkers and from blogs written by people living with accessibility needs. Several of the topics found in this guide are based on questions asked by activists in the HUB‘s community.
Purpose, learning objectives and relevance
This resource is intended for use by structures doing capacity-building or knowledge transfer with grassroots groups, individual activists or collectively by grassroots activist groups interested in making their spaces and activism more accessible.
The resource intends to spark the following outcomes:
- Equip grassroots groups with strategies to meet the access needs of participants, make their messaging accessible to all folks, and increase engagement and involvement in their activism and organizing spaces.
- Learn from the lived experiences of people with access needs.
- (Bonus) Discuss new ideas to add to the roundup of practices currently listed in the guide
Format and delivery
This resource is currently presented in written guide format on Blueprints for Change.
Suggestions for reviewing and processing knowledge:
- Read the guide individually and take what is relevant back to a group or assign as group reading
- Draw ideas from the guide and hold a group brainstorming discussion
- If you come up with anything new that we can add to the guide please be sure to email it to [email protected]
Estimated time: Under 1 hour to review. Group discussion time may vary.
- Individual or group read-through + discussion of how shared ideas do and don’t fit the context of the group learning from this
- Trying to model the good practices in the guide and running an action plan workshop for the group based on them. Goal is to come up with plan, timeline and bottom-liners to implement some of the ideas in the guide
- Checking back in after a couple months’ worth of testing the ideas in the guide in real life and doing a rundown of what worked well and what didn’t as a group
- Allow group members who are comfortable sharing their lived experiences, using some of the scenarios in the guide, to speak to resonance and hear what new ideas and considerations are shared
- Facilitated check-in after a couple months of testing the ideas in the guide in real life; discuss what worked well and what didn’t as a group
- Experienced organizing coaches can examine feedback and diagnose problems and provide suggested fixes based on group experiences
- Disclaimer / request for your help 2
- Summary 2
- Accessibility in event/action planning 3
- Meeting access needs 3
- Creating space for every identity 6
- Pandemic safety measures 8
- Considerations for virtual events 9
- Holding Accessible Meetings 10
- Suggestions for hybrid meetings 10
- Suggestions for beginning meetings 13
- Suggestions for during meetings 15
- Closing meetings 16
- Accessibility in communications 17
- General guidelines for accessible written materials 17
- Writing image descriptions 18
- Meeting disability and accessibility guidelines 18
- Creating accessible group cultures 19
- Attribution and further resources 21
Input and resources for this guide were provided by:
- Groupe DEFI Accessibilite (GDA) – Research report for associations in Montreal – Universal Accessibility and contributing designs (version 5.3), Langevin, Rocque, Chalghoumi & Ghorayeb, University of Montreal
- Collectif AU
- Sins Invalid
- Keri Wiginton for Web MD
- Sonny Jane Wise
- Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Brown Publishing Group, New York, 2012.
- Access Culture
- Alaina Leary for Rooted in Rights
- Thomas A. Russo for The Conversation
- Jessica M. F. Hughes
- The Invisible Students in the Classroom: How to Include the Introverts Without Excluding the Extroverts. MA thesis by Sharron Emilie Dow.
- Joshua Kaleng for The Catalyst News
- UK Mutual Aid
- Plain Language.gov
- Accessibility Over Aesthetics
- British Dyslexia Association
- WC3 Developers
- Liz Kessler
This guide was prepared by:
- Kenzie Harris
- Isabelle Grondin Hernandez
See the most updated version of the guide HERE.
Entablando un activismo accesible (Spanish)
About the Global Grassroots Support Network (GGSN)
The Global Grassroots Support Network (GGSN) is an initiative building upon the Blueprints for Change project. The GGSN is building a community of practice that brings together projects supporting grassroots, justice-oriented activist groups in multiple regions and continents to share knowledge, trainings, coaching and resource materials they created in their part of the world. The goal for the network is to compile collective knowledge on best practices for supporting the challenges faced by grassroots justice-oriented activist groups, to benefit from each others’ innovations, and ultimately improve support for grassroots movements around the world.
For more resources view the Global Grassroots Support Network collection on the Commons Library or visit the Blueprints for change site.
- How to make your social justice event accessible
- Accessible Online Meetings
- Digital Accessibility: Making Online Spaces Accessible
- The Intertwine Charter: Going beyond anti-discrimination and towards pro-active change to welcome others
- Improve your website accessibility