At the close of the 2023 Minnesota Legislative Session legislators passed an economic development that included provisions establishing the Minnesota Employer Reasonable Accommodation Fund (ERAF). The ERAF provides grants to small businesses and non-profit organizations to cover the cost of reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities. Legislation like ERAF is good policy because it helps turn Minnesota’s vision of an inclusive society into a reality for every business, large or small.
It’s important to remember that this time of year is not easy for everyone. Some of us have lost loved ones on or around the holidays. We might be feeling ill or struggling with pain. Sometimes, this time of year, it is tough to get the accommodations we need to participate, and it could feel like our disabilities might be holding us back. We might be overwhelmed and stressed by the obligation of presents and food, the gatherings, or traveling. Remember to be patient with people during the holiday season. You never know what someone is going through.
Depending on our disability, some of us might be more sensitive to things such as scent, texture, and noise. Generally, holiday decorating is synonymous with scents of balsam and fir, oak and musk, cinnamon, and clover. There can be different food and textures, or strong scents involved with cooking. Holiday lighting, often blinking, adorns houses and trees on the inside and outside. We often do not realize that some of the things included in our decorating, food, or homes can become overwhelming for some people.
MCD is continuing our celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In honor of our shared community, MCD is thrilled to share Brian’s story with you. Brian Muchiri shares his experience of traveling to the United States from Kenya and what it was like to have his wheelchair damaged by an airline. We are thankful for people like Brian, who are willing to share stories with our community.
MCD appreciates the hundreds of responses we received for our 2024 Public Policy Survey. Your feedback will help us shape our planning and priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Last month, we shared some of your comments and would like to share a few more. These comments highlight concerns about community access, financial stability, and a general lack of resources – all issues we hope to bring forward in the 2024 legislative session.
When hosting a holiday event, ensure mindfulness and be considerate of guest’s needs. Encourage a discussion and learn more about disability accommodations from those with experience. Consider the tips and information they provide and share what you have learned with others. It’s important to encourage awareness around disability accommodations so we can all do our part to create and support inclusive environments for all. Here are some tips and accommodations to consider this holiday season.