The One-Step-Campaign, a coalition between DIA and forward thinking workers at the NYC Commission On Human Rights was initiated by DIA in 1991, and promoted access to residences and public accommodations such as restaurants and stores by ramping the one-step barrier at entrances. Our partnership continued for almost 20 years and led to working together to make many buildings accessible.
Many sites have a step at the entrance that prevents wheelchair users from entering.
The New York City Human Rights law requires places and providers of public accommodation to make reasonable efforts to provide access and services to all customers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says ramping a single step is likely to be readily achievable (but not always).
The One Step Campaign advocated for greater accessibility through education and persuasion by striving toward the following goals:
- Permit safe and independent access to facilities and services, such as stores, restaurants, banks, medical offices, libraries, museums, and theaters, for all people;
- Provide free consultation and technical assistance to eliminate a one step obstacle;
- Help avoid the possibility of a costly and lengthy lawsuit.
- What you need to know:
- If you are a person with a disability you have a right to independent access.
- If you are a person with a disability you have a right to equal access to facilities and services.
- If you are a person with a disability you have a right to a reasonable accommodation to meet your needs.
You can make a difference:
People with disabilities were urged to identify the violation and speak to the owner or manager and inform him/her that they were unable to enter or use the premises because of a specific physical and/or policy barrier. Then they would contact the One Step people and a site visit would be held and a plan developed. People with disabilities got access to so many places we could not enter before. Very rarely did a business have to be sued for access. People with disabilities could get into buildings to get a haircut, buy food, get their medications, go to a movie, see a doctor, eat, attend a wake, see a politician all kinds of reasons.
Even though the One-Step Campaign is no longer in use, you can speak up for access and try to change your access to places. Not everyone will be receptive, but there is no harm in trying. Many people are unaware that their step (sometimes a tiny one) is a barrier. They think that because they do not see wheelchair users come into their office or place of business that we don’t want to go there. No, it’s that we cannot get in!