Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup
This evening I attended my first Meetup, a group of local community members that meet face to face on a monthly basis. The organizers of the Pittsburgh Accessibility Meetup, is committed to bringing together those who are interested in or affected by accessible design.
In a day and age where more and more meetings and communications are virtual it’s refreshing to take part in a diversified, live gathering of like-minded individuals who are passionate about improving accessibility in the world around us. The goal of this group “is to increase awareness of Accessibility issues and work towards improving access to technology for everyone.”
Our first dynamic speaker of the evening was Tirzah DeCaria of Creative Citizen Studios (CCS). Tirzah talked about building bridges between the arts and disability communities and celebrating the uniqueness of these individuals with quality art.
One of the programs led by Tirzah and Kirsten Ervin (also of CCS) last summer was Touch Art which consisted of four workshops including: Paper Making, Metal Clay, Pottery and Fiber Art. While I wasn’t able to attend the workshops I did go to the preview event where the artists in each of these segments provided a live demonstration of their craft.
The second engaging speaker Amy Hart, President and CEO of the Center for Hearing & Deaf Services, Inc. gave us some eye-opening statistics on the status of deafness locally and across the country. She asked us who was the fastest growing population of people losing their hearing, most of us weren’t surprised to learn that unfortunately it’s young people who listen to in-ear mp3 players, iPods, etc. with the volume too high.
What’s upsetting is while the technology is evolving at a very rapid pace it’s much too expensive for the average Joe. Items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that could save the lives of hearing impaired people are unattainable because the cost is astronomical.
My friends Sherri and Susan Rodgers who have Usher Syndrome (an inherited disorder that causes blindness and deafness) spoke up and were talking about the sounds that Susan can enjoy hearing thanks to her Cochlear implant. I didn’t know until tonight that prior to getting her Cochlear implant Susan had not heard the sound of locusts and when she was telling us this evening about being able to hear words it was overwhelming.
For me the thing that makes this group so special is all the people from different walks of life coming together to make the world a better place for everyone. The audience was very engaged with the speakers, asked thoughtful questions and were seeking answers to how we might impact positive change.
Our membership is currently at 117 and growing. If you’re interested in a similar group in your area you can visit www.meetup.com to see what’s available. If there isn’t one why not consider starting one of your own?
Before I left for my meetup I was listening to Katie Couric and her guest Kate Dimmock, Fashion Director, People StyleWatch who was talking about spring trends. I didn’t catch the entire segment but the one thing I did hear was dresses are big this season and of course the first one showed (and my personal favorite) was a black and white, bold floral number. I found this dress on Jones New York’s website and provide the description of it and two others below:
- Black and white sleeveless sheath dress with square neck $98. Command attention in this boldly printed black and white sheath dress. It’s seamed to flatter the figure and has slightly capped sleeves. Perfect for work as well as cocktails afterwards. Talk about versatility! Polyester, Lined www.jny.com
- Shirt dress is good for almost all shapes $98. The sleeveless one-piece wonder you’ll want to live in all season long. This ivory shirt dress is seamed and has a self-belt to flatter the figure. Golden buttons adorn the four flap pockets and front. Polyester, Lined www.jny.com
- Slubbed Jacquard Sleeveless V-neck Flare Dress Violet Lattice $89.50. We turned up the texture of this slubbed jacquard style for elevated charm. Pleated at front and back waist. www.loft.com
“The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.”—Alicia Keys