UPDATED WHEELCHAIR SIGN – SIGN OR MOVEMENT?

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In life, they say, the best things happen when you least expect them. I’ll tell you right now, when I came across the updated wheelchair sign (I first experienced the improved sign In 2018), the joy from something you’d never expect to happen, was quite intense. It had crossed my mind in the past, to some extent.

I WONDERED HOW COOL IT WOULD BE IF THEY MADE A PINK ONE FOR GIRL

Honestly though, I hadn’t gone into much detail about how life changing it could be if some tweaks were made.

You can only imagine how excited I was when I saw, that this time, the person was not only sitting in the wheelchair, they were clearly on the move, and appeared to be unstoppable at that. In that moment I was well aware of what had started to happen. I doubt the majority of others did also, but they soon would. 

Since 1974, the handicap accessible sign you’d see marking parking spots specifically for wheelchairs has been a thing. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, if not, it was a white stick figure seated in a wheelchair, with its one arm straight out.

To be fair, it really doesn’t look that bad. However, personally speaking for myself, I know how active someone with a chair can be, and this exact representation did not really showcase us as able or driven. Which, unfortunately, would leave able bodied people wondering if we were even capable of such things.

THERE ALREADY SO MANY ASSUMPTIONS BEING MADE ABOUT ANYONE WHO DOES NOT STAND UP

After giving it some thought, that older sign may as well be the foundation where people began assuming wheelchair bound individuals are close to helpless.

From the bottom of my heart, not only do I feel, but I know that this improvement to the sign is going to eventually open the eyes of those who do walk, to see that we are motivated, and these wheelchairs are, in fact, the ships that we set sail upon into this world.

There are a couple of articles written about the sign, containing information on when the updates took place. It may surprise you to hear that New York became the first of the 50 states to replace the old symbol.

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The article from which I gathered that detail dates back to July 29th, 2014. To be completely honest, I’m a bit shocked that I hadn’t at least heard of such a thing happening until I dug for the info myself.

Another piece I found while on a mission to gain more understanding of when all of this changing had started, was published back in October of ‘15.

Of course New York was listed, as well as other places that were in line to receive the magic of this update. Connecticut, Phoenix, and Texas to name a few. Here we are now, 2019, and as a native of Michigan, I am proud to say that we too have stepped up on this ladder to a better understanding of the wheelchair world.

It may seem like something so little; like in the long run what difference could it really make, but I am well aware that seeing is believing, and if the world begins to look at us in a light where we are not slowed down one bit by the fact that we aren’t walking, maybe one day, maybe even at this very moment, we are that much closer to discrimination coming to a much needed halt, once and for all.

I’m honored to say that it was during my lifetime when such a move had been made.

The smallest acts can make the biggest differences, without a doubt. This will surely improve the reputation of anyone who has a wheelchair in their life. ️

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Courtney Cirabisi

Courtney Cirabisi is a 23 year old who lives in Michigan. She became reliant on a wheelchair for everyday mobility after she was child abused by her dad back in 1993, resulting with a spinal cord injury. She’s big on writing, acting, video editing and thrives on showing people that life doesn’t stop when you aren’t walking. Courtney knows that the mind is the most important thing a person can have, and with that knowledge she is able to confidently go about living her day to day life. She is currently working on a memoir about her life and hopes to have it out on shelves one day.

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