The Commission on Disabilities met this week with Claudia Correa, chief of the city’s Office of Talent and Culture. Correa said her office is looking at implementing some policies and changes throughout the city. Commission members and Correa share the goal of ensuring city policies reflect commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Correa, who also oversees Human Resources, told the commission her office is working on implementing some policies and changes around diversity, equity and inclusion. Correa said she and Commission Chair/ADA Coordinator Ralph DeCicco are planning to visit city buildings “to make sure departments are ADA compliant and doing their best to be accessible to people with disabilities.”
But Correa stressed she is not looking to check boxes: It’s not enough to be ADA compliant – we have to be intentional. Correa gave the example of an elevator in the basement of a city building that can take disabled people to meetings on the third and fourth floor. “Fine, we’re in compliance but are we really being intentional?” she asked. “I see people walking around looking for an elevator.”
Commission Vice Chair Pauline Perno agreed that it’s about more than compliance and accessibility. “We have to make people aware. As internal people we know the elevators are there, assistive devices are there, close captioning is there, but we have to get the word out. Unless that word is spread through the many channels that need to hear it, it doesn’t matter how accessible things are.”
Correa and the commissioners also discussed the state’s extension of the option to hold remote or hybrid municipal meetings until 2025. “One of the best things to come out of covid was virtual meetings,’ said Correa. “People with disabilities have been asking for this for many years.”
But members of the commission said that virtual meetings are important for the entire community. “People from different backgrounds, different ethnicities don’t want to be at a public meetings, but they want to be involved,” said Commission Member Mario Grimanis.
DeCicco said virtual meetings were valuable because they allowed city boards to invite well-known speakers from anywhere in the country and have them join meetings to share their expertise. “We can use technology and we need to embrace it,” he said.
Correa also told commissioners that descriptions for jobs with the City of Revere are being reworked to make sure they use ADA-compliant language. Correa said it’s important that all people feel invited to apply for city jobs and that Revere is committed to finding and working with the many residents who would bring talent and culture to their jobs.