COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) awarded the City of Colorado Springs with the Kathy Vincent Award for Effective Communication for being the first city to create and publish a Transition Plan for Web Accessibility in an effort to make all its electronic communications fully accessible.
“I am pleased to award the City of Colorado Springs with the Kathy Vincent Award for Effective Communication,” said Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. “Your work on digital access can be a model for implementation of HB 21-1110 because your process and planning are what we want to see ALL state and local governments do.”
The City of Colorado Springs established its Online Accessibility Policy in March 2020, requiring that web content hosted on City public websites be evaluated, prioritized, and scheduled for remediation no later than June 30, 2022. The City has also established policies and processes for procuring accessible information technology and employee training for creating accessible content that can be read by assistive technologies such as screen readers and Braille devices.
In 2021, the City published its Transition Plan for Web Accessibility just as HB21-1110 was passed in Colorado. This state legislation requires all state agencies to make their web access services and information accessible by 2024. The City’s plan can serve as a road map for other cities, counties and public agencies.
Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center, nominated the City for its Web Accessibility Transition Plan, which is believed to be the first in the nation. Local governments have long been pressured to make their electronic access to services and information accessible to persons who need web accommodations such as screen readers and dictated input. Even kiosks for services out in the community need to be accessible to persons who cannot see, hear, or type on a keyboard. Yeager likened this plan to a building code for the web instead of buildings.
“Once the disability community got accessible building codes into national standards, buildings began to become accessible. The City’s Transition Plan for Web Access is the beginning of a building code for web access,” said Yeager. “Under the leadership and commitment of Mayor John Suthers to the ADA, Colorado Springs is becoming a very welcoming city for persons with disabilities.”
Kevin McDaniel, ADA/Web Accessibility Coordinator, along with Robert Hernandez, Manager of the Office of Accessibility, and other City communications, legal, and information technology staff worked to make this plan a reality. As other local municipalities in Southern Colorado often look to Colorado Springs to see how things are done, the Web Accessibility Transition plan will be a role model across the state.
About the Kathy Vincent Award: Kathy Vincent helped found the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. She was born 50 years before the passing of the ADA. She lived with cerebral palsy and a speech impairment which made it difficult for her to communicate and as a result she was often dismissed by society. The last 18 months of her life, Kathy was finally able to use an accessible communication device that changed her ability to give her voice impact. In honor of Kathy, we present the Kathy Vincent Award for Effective Communication. Her family Nancy Wittmyer and Jacquie Kilburn continue her legacy with support of this award and CCDC.
About Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition: Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) is the premier organization in Colorado advocating for disability rights. Our mission is to advocate for social justice for people with all types of disabilities (what we call a cross-disability). We work with individuals, service providers, businesses, and government agencies to ensure that people with all types of disabilities have equal rights and equal access. We ensure physical structures are compliant and policies and procedures decrease barriers. We seek compliance with the ADA and help others to accomplish the same. Our motto is “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
About The Independence Center
The Independence Center (The IC) is a nonprofit organization that provides traditional and self-directed home health care, independent living, veteran-directed care, and advocacy services for people with disabilities. These services range from providing peer support, skills classes, and employment assistance to individual and systems advocacy. The IC’s mission is to work with people with disabilities, their families, and the community to create independence so all may thrive. Learn more at theindependencecenter.org.