The Idea

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD) is an opportunity to highlight the importance of making sure the technology we build and buy can be used by people with disabilities around the globe. Accessibility is essential for people like me as I am legally blind and I use a screen reader to be effective, efficient, and competitive. As Chief Accessibility Officer at Disability:IN, I have learned how GAAD – which is recognized annually on the third Thursday of May – can sneak up on companies. It is common to have years when GAAD preparation becomes a mad dash to scramble and arrange an event at the last minute.

At Disability:IN, we develop and deliver solutions to help our 450 corporate partners advance their #Accessibility and #DisabilityInclusion efforts. So, with participation from over twenty of our corporate partners and the two Co-founders of GAAD, we developed 3 hours and 20 minutes of engaging content that broadcasted and looped for Disability:IN’s 24 Hours of GAAD programming.

The 24-Hour Event

Beginning at midnight on Thursday, May 18th, we streamed the pre-recorded sessions accompanied by live chat. Over 600+ employees representing over 157 companies and 37 countries joined in the learning and community connection from around the globe. Disability:IN created and distributed a suite of resources on various aspects of accessibility to help our community build its toolkit for advancing accessibility year-round.

What We Learned

The 24 Hours of GAAD event was only possible thanks to the Disability:IN staff and many of our corporate partners who supported the planning and execution. We had great support from our friends at @Swoogo, @Zoom, @ASL Connect, and @Caption First, with sponsorship from @EY. The Disability:IN staff loved engaging with many of our corporate partners in every time zone to foster stronger connections. Accessibility is truly at the intersection of everything, and it requires intentionality 365 days a year.

I encourage you to continue driving conversations around GAAD on social media year-round using #GAAD365. You can also check out Disability:IN’s monthly lineup for additional content and resources for advancing #a11y and #DisabilityInclusion.