Earlier today ABC7 Chicago filed a report on how the mayorality of Rahm Emanuel has impacted the disability community in Chicago. Based on the judgments of ABC7 reporter Karen Meyer and Karen Tamley, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, it appears that Emanuel is following the course set by former Mayor Richard Daley to make Chicago “the most accessible city in the world.” Since 2007, the city has created more than 30,000 new curb cuts across the city to help Chicagoans with disabilities get around. Further, the HomeMod program continues to provide grants of up to $10,000 to eligible residents to make their homes accessible. Demand is outstripping the available funds for this worthy program, so hopefully community pressure will help ensure that Mr. Emanuel allocates the money necessary to widen HomeMod’s reach.
Relatedly, it’s great to see ABC7 putting a journalist with a disability on air. Karen Meyer has a hearing impairment and also one heck of a resume. There are too few persons with disabilities in television news, so props to ABC7 so breaking the mold. I’m not sure if they have Ms. Meyer on air only to speak to disability issues, but let’s hope that in the near future we’ll see a bit more of her or other pioneering reporters covering stories that both do and don’t relate explicitly to disability.