I want to start off by sending a huge “thank you” to Alki’s former Editor-in-Chief turned Web Editor, Ray Zill, and last year’s Editing Committee for setting up the March 2023 issue for success with such impeccable timing. I’m pleased as punch that our first issue to be published on the new (more screen reader friendly) site focuses on accessibility.
The theme of this issue provided me with an opportunity to put my perspective on accessibility into words and I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t easy. As an able-bodied, neurodivergent person, I originally thought my voice would be that of an ally taking up space reserved for the affected and as a White woman, I strive to stay in my lane. Then I read the submissions we received and realized I do have a place at that table. I was self-isolating from the conversation because I deemed myself “not disabled enough” or “not the right kind of disabled” when the whole point of accessibility is the inclusion of “nontypical” bodies and minds. I wonder if you’ve done this too, Reader. Have you thought to yourself “I only have ADHD so I don’t have a right to speak on accommodations or accessibility issues” or “I only need a mobility aid for long distances so universal design issues don’t apply to me”? Why do we do that? To answer that question in earnest, it’s probably because of the stigma surrounding topics of disability and mental wellness that stems from White supremacy and eugenics that is so ingrained in our society. So if we know the root cause of our self-induced isolation, let’s break the cycle and become part of the conversation.
As you read through this issue, I invite you to envision your library as if each Alki author had a say in how it was designed. What would sidewalks and entryways look like? How would the chairs and tables be set up? What would it sound or smell like? Would it have fluorescent lighting? What would the displays look like? Picture the reading materials themselves; are they electronic, audible, tactile? I’m looking forward to seeing it through your eyes.