Rumor Has It
Road to somewhere:
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
I’m not going to lie, for most of my life I haven’t given that much thought to accessibility. Even when I broke my ankle several years ago and had to make my way in a world that suddenly had more obstacles, I mostly treated it as a temporary situation that I could overcome with pluckiness and can-do spirit (and a helluva lot of help from my friends).
What opened my eyes to our inaccessible world was something unexpected: children. Specifically my friends’ children who have mobility concerns.
Everyone who knows me well is reeling right now because I’m not exactly the biggest fan of kids. However, I do believe that once they’re brought into this world, children should get to have the fullest life experience possible, complete with being able to explore every nook and cranny as safety and sanity allows. Watching friends with kids who have accessibility needs attempt to give their children that fullness of experience in a world that ranges from thoughtless to openly hostile to anyone who isn’t able-bodied has been illuminating.
Which is why it’s a bummer that Bellingham’s only dedicated all-ages venue is not exactly the most accessible spot.
Yes, Make.Shift has a ramp to its front entrance, lovingly built by its hardy volunteers some years ago. However, even things built with great care can begin to show wear and tear, and the ramp reached that point several wears and tears ago. On warm, dry days, the ramp remains mostly fine. However, when it rains, things get slick. And when it snows, the ramp not only gets decidedly dicey, but it can also become downright dangerous.
If you’re thinking it’s time for a new ramp, I’m about to tell you how you can help bring that into being.
About a month ago, Make.Shift launched a Gofundme to raise the money needed to replace their ramp. As fundraisers go, the goal is pretty modest—$2,000, of which nearly $750 has been raised at press time—and certainly seems attainable.
Make.Shift has been with us for long enough that it is difficult to recall a time when they didn’t exist. But I certainly remember what our arts and music scenes were like before the nonprofit came into being. For so many of us, Make.Shift has served to make that which seemed out of reach finally accessible: a legit all-ages venue, a gallery space that thrives on inclusiveness, affordable rehearsal spaces and incubators for micro-businesses—the list goes on. But in order to get to all that magic, people need to be able to get through the front door. Let’s make it happen.