Since its inception, the California Disability Alliance has effectively utilized the Internet as its main tool for bringing our members and friends together to take action on issues of importance to us. Members of CDA utilize the Internet to discover what is going on in the world--we use our browsers to access Government documents, we join listservs to chat with each other on various subjects, we receive announcements via email, we send mail to legislators and government regulators to make our concerns known.
From time to time--more frequently than we would like--we encounter government or commercial websites that are inaccessible to many of us with various disabilities. CDA members have tried to call this to the attention of the departments or enterprises involved, and to inform them about internet standards and universal access. Additionally, we have perceived the possibilities of internet taxation or increased fees for internet connections as a potential threat to our way of life.
Knowing that power is in affiliation and coalition, the Executive Committee of the California Disability Alliance recommended that CDA affiliate with the San Francisco Bay Area Network on Disability (SF BAND) for the purpose of promoting our interests in the internet.
Executive Committee Member Jean Nandi had been representing another group--the San Francisco Bay Area Network on Disability (SF BAND)--on the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and elsewhere to promote the interests of persons with disabilities using the internet. Many of the California-based SF BAND members are already members of CDA, and DREES (the "West Bay arm of SF BAND") is a CDA Affiliate. Having so many interests in common, CDA's Executive Committee urge members to vote in favor of affiliating with SF BAND and let that group represent our internet interests.
The San Francisco Bay Area Network on Disability, or SF BAND, consists of two electronic mailing lists. The firstname.lastname@example.org list is centered in the East Bay and email@example.com is centered in Marin County. Holding this enlarging network together are the resource pages and email services provided for SF BAND by Jean Nandi. [ http://members.aol.com/jeannandi/HOMEPAGE/JEANHOME.HTML ]
SF BAND provides information about ways of acquiring and effectively utilizing technology, especially for persons with disabilities. We have now added our collective voice to the [ Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee ], further enabling us to educate the public about our needs and unique uses of the internet.
[ Go to the SF BAND website for more information ]
CDA members agreed with the recommendation of the Executive Committee and voted to affiliate with SF BAND. We now consider its business (to improve our networking capabilities online and increase access to the web) to be our business.
Although the California Disability Alliance is primarily involved in health care policy debates, our modus operandi is to use the internet almost exclusively to achieve our goals. That being the case, we have already found ourselves doing battle with the State of California on its website contracts, and can ill afford to see PUC regulations or taxes jack up the price of doing our work. Therefore, although it may seem as though CDA and SF BAND are only remotely connected, our support of the latter will help us continue working together.
Thank you for your support.
Jean Nandi, Member, California Disability Alliance (CDA)
and former Chair, San Francisco Bay Area Network on Disability