Report of the Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access (TFDDA)

Submitted by: Jack Fagan

Submitted on: October 26, 2023

Submitted to: the 174th Diocesan Convention

Task Force Background

The Task Force on Disability and Deaf Access was created by resolution at the 170th Convention of the Diocese of California in October 2019. The members were not appointed and assembled, however, until August 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Launched with nine members, for the past two years, five of the original members have continued meeting online more or less monthly. The task force was on hiatus this past summer due to the chair being on medical leave. Its original remit was to develop a handbook to help churches and institutions in the diocese improve accessibility for disabled and Deaf congregants and others. At the 173rd Convention in 2022, a second resolution charged the task force with creating a training for clergy and hiring managers on disability sensitivity and anti-ableism along the lines of Sacred Ground. We are excited to have recently reconnected with disabled colleagues and accessibility advocates in the Church of England, including the Rev. Katy Tupling, Diocese of Oxford, and are eager to work together to advance our work.

Status Report

Working drafts of both the handbook and the disability sensitivity and anti-ableism training have been submitted to the convention team to post on its website for review and feedback. The handbook, currently at 40 pages, has sections that still need to be finalized. The training, developed by task force member Karma Quick-Panwala, in its current form consists of a live presentation using a slide deck. The task force envisions complementing this by featuring people with various disabilities in a recorded video sharing their experiences and recommendations. Both the handbook and the training consist only of text. There is room to possibly enhance both by adding images and graphic design elements (without compromising accessibility for people with low vision or visual processing disabilities). As the handbook and training are finalized, the task force will need assistance from the diocese to distribute them to the intended audiences.

Ongoing Work and Invitation

We are seeking people to join us in our work! We seek people 1) with personal or familial lived experience with one or more disabilities, 2) who have talent for writing, editing, and graphic design, and 3) who are willing to commit to actively contributing to the work of completing, enhancing, and delivering the handbook and training. To help deepen the impact of our work and more fully represent the disability community, we expressly invite Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are also disabled or Deaf to join us. Please contact task force chair Jack Fagan at jackf@gracecathedral.org if interested. Note that official task force appointments can only be made by the bishop