The Democracy Center is becoming wheelchair accessible, we recognize that our persistent and incomplete accessibility is a pervasive example of ableism within progressive organizing: systematically shutting out disabled organizers and activists.
This page includes a history of the project (bottom) and our current accessibility information. All event organizers are required to note that we are partially wheelchair accessible on all publicity for their events. Our ramp is completed, but the door will not be usable unassisted until the end of March 2018; we do not have near term plans confirmed for an accessible bathroom. Our interim solution is addressed below. We apologize for the delays in construction that have resulted in this situation.
We encourage anyone with specific questions to reach out to email@example.com or 617 492 8855.
We are thrilled with the support our community has shown for our ramp, and ask everyone to refer to our accessibility as partial accessibility and refer people to this page for details, so there is no confusion about what our exact situation is. We always welcome feedback on our processes, language, and ways of conveying information. If you are able to contribute financially, here is our fundraiser to cover the ramp: link here.
Our current physical accessibility information:
- There are 8 steep steps to enter the Mt Auburn St door which is 36 inches wide
- The wheelchair access ramp is at the DeWolfe St door, which is 32 inches wide (with the door open); as of 10/4/17 the ramp is complete, but the door is not usable unassisted. We hope to have the rectified by the end of March 2018.
- The threshold from the Mandela room into the kitchen is not usable unassisted at this time, we plan to address this at the same time as other door repairs and have it completed by the end of March 2018.
- There is one gender neutral bathroom on the first floor, which is not accessible. The internal hallways leading to it are between 28-30 inches wide. The bathroom door is 29 inches wide, the toilet is about 6 feet from the door. We are in the process of planning renovations to make the bathroom more accessible on a separate timeline from the ramp installation.
- Daedalus Restaurant, our neighbor, has graciously offered wheelchair users to use their accessible bathroom while our bathroom is being sorted out. To access it, exit the wheelchair ramp and turn left onto Bow St. The immediate next building's back door is a marked accessible entrance, the accessible bathroom is on the right side. We recognize this is not an ideal or equitable arrangement, and we hope it provides an interim solution
- The Mandela, Chavez, and Parks rooms are connected by wide sets of double doors. The internal hallways vary between 27-30 inches wide, the library door is 30 inches wide. There is a step between the Mandela room and the kitchen, we will purchase a small ramp to cover it by the end of August.
- Once the ramp, door, and lock system are complete, we will update event organizers and organizational policies to ensure an accessible route and assistive devices are available, check back here for more information
UPDATE 5/24/17: We plan to install an access ramp to the DeWolfe St side of the building in July. More information here.
UPDATE 8/9/17: see above for updated information on our current accessibility
UPDATE 10/4/17: see above for updated information on the door, bathroom, and threshold.
UPDATE 3/2/18: We have had many delays on the contractor end for the lock, door, and thresholds. We have a working lock on the DeWolfe St accessible entrance, but the automatic opener and threshold repairs should be scheduled for mid-March 2018.
Feel free to contact us about our plans for improvement and/or your accessibility needs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-492-8855. Keep in mind the DC does not handle ticketing or logistics for events we are not specifically co-sponsoring.
Written Directions to the Center:
- The DC is ⅓ of a mile from Harvard Sq Station, from the main entrance to the station, turn left then immediately left again toward Dunster St. Turn right on Dunster St (first street on your right), at the end of the block cross the street and turn left onto Mount Auburn St. Go about 4 blocks, the Mt Auburn entrance is across the street on the left, the accessible entrance is at DeWolfe St. Turn left just past the Democracy Center onto DeWolfe St and then immediately left again onto Bow St, the ramp opens about 6 feet from the curb cut.
History of the Project
It is inexcusable that we have been inaccessible since our debut in 2001, and we have installed a wheelchair access ramp to the DeWolfe St side of the building which should be complete (including door, lock, and opener system) by the end of March, though delays on the contractors end have made the timeline difficult to predict. From late February 2017 to early June 2017, we worked with 4 paid, disabled consultants with mobility-related disabilities to guide the improvement of our space. We have also received input from the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) in August 2017. We will keep everyone as up to date as possible as we negotiate with contractors, the City of Cambridge, and Cambridge Historic Commission. We also hope to do much more than become physically accessible: we hope to use this journey as a way to tackle other aspects of ableism within organizing and social justice movements - again, stay tuned!