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A message from Commissioner McCosh: Adapting to change amid COVID-19

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Disabilities Commission

A weekly message from Commissioner McCosh in support of the local disability community.

Dear Disability Community Members,

It was just last week that I was writing about the beautiful warm weather, and this weekend I looked out my window to see big puffy flakes of snow - in May! But as a lifelong resident of this wonderful city, I have to smile. The unpredictable weather is just one of the many things that makes Boston unique, and makes its residents capable of quickly adapting to tumultuous changes. 

As people with disabilities, we are intimately acquainted with the need to adapt on a much bigger scale than a snowstorm in May. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing all of us to adapt to unprecedented circumstances. Last week, Mayor Walsh announced that all in-person festivals and parades in the City of Boston this summer will be canceled, at least through Labor Day. While this announcement may be hard to hear, please trust that it was made with the safety of each and every one of you in mind, first and foremost. 

When we think of summer at my Commission, we look forward to our annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration, usually held on City Hall Plaza, to commemorate the signing of the ADA. As many of you know, this event brings together hundreds of people with disabilities, services providers, and allies from all over the greater Boston area. This year our ADA Day celebration feels especially important because it marks the 30th anniversary of the signing. We started planning for ADA 30 back in 2019, and while we knew that we would have to make some significant changes because City Hall Plaza will be closed for renovations, we could not have predicted how different this summer would actually be.  

And so now is the time that we adapt. We have already seen worksites shift online, as well as meetings, birthday parties, and even Mother’s Day celebrations. And while we will no longer be able to gather in person for ADA Day this summer, you can rest assured that our 30th anniversary celebration will be just as fun, interactive, and impactful! We are currently working closely with our community partners to come up with interesting and engaging ways to bring attention to the ADA and disability rights as a whole, and we will have more info on what that will look like in the coming weeks. 

While this year has brought many changes and will continue to do so over the summer, some things will not change and will continue to bring us beauty and stability. The days will get warmer and the sun will stay out longer, allowing us more time to enjoy fresh air, even if it’s through open windows or facemasks. The trees will continue to grow new green leaves and the flowers will continue to bloom, giving us our pockets of vibrant nature throughout the City.

Last but not least, our office will continue to be here for you for support, so please reach out to us if you need assistance. You can dial 311 to reach City Hall, or call us at 617-635-3682. Our email is disability@boston.gov, and the latest updates are available at Boston.gov.

Until next week, please stay informed, stay home, and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Kristen McCosh Signature

Commissioner Kristen McCosh