Self advocates on the Semiahmoo Peninsula are encouraging the community to get rolling in the name of accessibility.
Aimed at highlighting accessible spaces in the community, celebrating people with disabilities and encouraging others to think of ways to create a better, more accessible and more inclusive community, the Surrey Access Walk and Roll 2023 is set for Thursday, June 1, in Crescent Beach.
It’s about raising awareness and bringing the community together, say organizers.
“I think we could do more,” Krista Milne, a member of the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo (SAS), said of the current accessibility level of South Surrey/White Rock.
“It’s an ongoing process.”
SAS formed several years ago to focus on making changes through positive relationships. Over the years, its members have embarked on initiatives ranging from public-service announcements to highlight the importance of actions taken during COVID, and events to ensure the voices of those who have trouble speaking up are heard, to consultation sessions on accessibility legislation planned for B.C. and fundraising for beach-accessible wheelchairs.
In 2017, the group was federally recognized for their work on the Accessible Canada Act.
Program co-ordinator Sarah Clemas said Tuesday (May 2) that SAS members recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to accessibility.
Everyone comes to the table with different needs – from new parents, to seniors, to people of all ages with a range of disabilities, both seen and invisible.
“Accessibility can be a really layered and complicated issue,” Clemas said.
“We’re all different, unique,” added Milne.
UNITI CEO Doug Tennant said an important part of a healthy and inclusive community is realizing “that we all need to work together to make this happen.”
“Inclusion can’t happen in isolation. We need businesses, community organizations, and all Surrey citizens to make this happen. This is why we hope people come to support this.”
Change, said Clemas, can come from simply bringing an issue into the light. Such was the idea when choosing this year’s event location.
SAS members scoped out a number of sites – including Unwin Park and Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest – before deciding on Crescent Beach, she said.
“We want to be seen,” said Milne.
In addition to being relatively flat and accessible, the waterfront path between the Wickson Pier and Beecher Street offers numerous opportunities to stop and rest or take in the view.
Clemas added there is no set distance for participants to complete, they may turn around at any point along the way should they want or need to.
SAS members will be volunteering along the route, noted Milne.
Last year’s inaugural walk and roll drew around 20 people.
The hope for this year is a tenfold-plus increase to that, to a maximum of 250.
There is no cost to participate, however, those planning to join in are asked to RSVP at eventbrite.ca. The event – supported by CLBC Surrey-White Rock-Delta Community Council and the City of Surrey – is set for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, including about volunteering or hosting a booth, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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