TDI stands in solidarity with minority and marginalized communities seeking a more just and equitable society. The tragic and needless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting protests nationwide shine a light on how much work remains to build the society that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

The urgency of the moment is such that TDI’s work in advocating for accessible technology for all Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, and Deaf Plus individuals must take into consideration the impact of intersectionality. The Technology and Minorities in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community forum at the 2019 TDI Conference made it clear that minorities are disproportionally affected by systemic barriers in technology.

A common systemic barrier is the inequity in funding of schools. In the United States, how well a school is funded is determined by its local tax base. It is well documented that poorer neighborhoods, which tend to have a high proportion of minorities, are less likely to have the funds to pay for computers and technological services and instruction in the use of technology at the neighborhood school. Another common example is the lack of broadband in rural areas where many people of color live. Many American Indian reservations are especially isolated.

We cannot begin to fully realize the promise of accessible technology for all without first addressing such systemic barriers as these.

The silver lining amidst all the pain and anger exemplified by the Black Lives Matter protests is that many people who are privileged are actively listening and learning what it means to stand in solidarity with people of color. The stories being told of daily indignities and injustices, however painful to hear, are deeply instructive. The work to ensure accessible technology for all begins when members of minority and marginalized communities feel free to share their stories and they are heard.

TDI hears you, sees you, and stands with you. Together, we will shape an accessible world for all.