Access Press is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! Congratulations are in order – and thanks! So also is this post which I hope is redundant for many regular readers of this monthly treasure trove of information about the disabilities community.
The mission of Access Press is “to promote the social inclusion and legal rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for news, features, opinion and conversation to benefit people who are often invisible and marginalized in mainstream society.” In truth, Access Press is really the indispensable window on the world to what’s happening in the disabilities community, a community so robust that it can be difficult to understand if one does not feel a member. With Access Press, we can all keep up, understand and participate.
Happily, after a quarter century, many Minnesotans have honed the habit of picking up the monthly Access Press – or, better yet, making sure there’s a drop site of the indispensable publication in every possible public space! In fact, there are approximately 300 sites around the state where, on the 10th of each month, bundles of Access Press are dropped off for free and easy access. In addition to the printed publication, the paper is produced in audiotape format using a special radio channel for people with visual impairments. Keeping apace with technology, the articles from each edition are also posted on the Access Press website (http://www.accesspress.org)– or, if you just can’t wait for the 10th of the month, keep up with the print edition by following Access Press on Facebook and Twitter!
For those who have some catching up to do, the 25th anniversary is a good time to look back. In the May 2014 issue Managing Editor Jane McClure offers a history note that tells the story of the newspaper, tracing the origins of the newspaper from the launch of Access Press on the brink of the vote on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (http://www.accesspress.org/2014/05/history-note-a-look-back-through-the-pages-of-access-press/) In fact, every month Access Press carries a History Note, reminding readers of the laws, the issues, and the leaders who have made a difference in the struggle of Minnesotans and Americans at large to create an inclusive community.
The June 2014 issue offers a great review of the legislative accomplishments of the most recent legislative session – issues that include a range from safe schools (bullying) to autism to expanded funding and more, There’s also a synopsis of what’s coming up on Radio Talking Books and other audio options, notes on accessible events, even advance notice of the Americans with Disabilities 24th Anniversary Celebration, Friday July 25 at DHS.
Though this is but a snippet of Access Press, it ‘s easy to see why the paper is a must read. Check out the website for the latest edition of the newspaper and much more, including the story behind The Real Story, a documentary film exploring media coverage of the disability issues in Minnesota. Produced by Access Press and narrated by Kevin Kling, the documentary explores the biases in media coverage of disability issues in Minnesota and nationally and examines the role of grassroots and mainstream media outlets in reporting on stories important to all people with disabilities. (http://www.accesspress.org/the-real-story/press/)
Tim Benjamin has been Editor-in-chief of Access Press since 2001, assuming the position on the death of Charlie Smith, founder, publisher and long-time editor. (http://www.accesspress.org/2001/05/welcome-new-access-press-editor-tim-benjamin/) Tim’s monthly column always offers a thoughtful summary of what’s happening and a reminder for readers to get up and do what needs to be done – to keep up with the news and resources, to learn and understand those who “are often invisible and marginalized in mainstream society”, to share the wealth of information found on the pages of Access Press with friends, family, and colleagues, to take action (e.g. in support of Disability Viewpoints on community cable), and to be certain that Access Press is on the distribution list for events and resources of interest to people with disabilities, their families and organizations who serve the disabilities community.