My work as a disability accessibility and inclusion consultant takes me to some exciting places. From partnering with tech companies like Google to participating in events with leading entertainment and streaming works like Netflix, I’m grateful to daily get to witness how various industries are making strides toward being more inclusive of disabled people in their company cultures, marketing, external events and so much more. Recently, my firm had the opportunity to help bring greater accessibility to the most prestigious music industry celebration in the nation (and arguably the world), the Grammy Awards. This included supporting delivery of American Sign Language (ASL) services on the red carpet and the press room, providing guidance on language/communication to the disability community, and advising on physical accessibility of various spaces, including ramps on the red carpet.
This year the Grammys were hosted in Los Angeles, CA at the Crypto.com arena. As a wheelchair user, large venues like these can be a huge challenge to navigate, especially when the crowds are massive. Traditionally in crowds, I have a hard time maneuvering because I’m so low in my chair that people don’t see me and, thus, aren’t considerate of my needs to get through. I also don’t often have view of directional signage or other signals to help me find my way. Finally, in the past, I’ve been unable to clearly communicate with people because I’m so low that I can’t hear them and they can’t hear me amidst the noise.
Thanks to the elevation on my Quantum #4Front2, I had the best experience I’ve ever had in a crowd. Being able to elevate to approximately 5 feet helped alleviate my usual crowd navigation concerns. Not only was I able to maneuver through both the red carpet and the arena, itself, but I was more effectively able to do my job because I could communicate eye-to-eye with the team I was supporting…and, of course, getting to see and connect with some of my favorite music artists was the icing on the cake! Once again, wheelchair elevation saves the day!