Friday, February 23, 2024

Memphis needs an Office on Disability

People with disabilities are a growing and important part of our community. We are not going away. However, in Memphis and Shelby County, we have no coordination of public policy.

The Memphis area desperately needs an Office on Disability. While the population of people with disabilities is growing in our area, the impact of disability is also being felt more in employment, housing and transportation. Often, people with disabilities are the poorest of the poor and many of our group are over 60. We need to be proactive in including people with disabilities in everything.

Not including people with disabilities often leads to isolation and segregation. It makes our community into a burden and a problem rather than participants in solutions. An Office on Disability can create a coordinated, efficient and common-sense approach to disability issues in the Memphis Area. 

Here are seven effective reasons why a city should have an office of disability:

  1. Accessibility and Inclusivity: An office of disability can focus on making the city more accessible and inclusive for individuals with disabilities. This includes ensuring that public spaces, transportation, and buildings are compliant with the ADA.

  2. Advocacy and Representation: The office can serve as a voice for the disabled community, advocating for their rights and needs in various city initiatives, policies, and programs.

  3. Policy Development: A dedicated office can actively participate in the development of disability-related policies and regulations. This can include drafting laws that promote disability rights, employment opportunities, and social services that cater to the specific needs of residents and visitors with disabilities.

  4. Coordination of Services: The office can act as a central hub for coordinating services and resources for disabled individuals. 

  5. Public Awareness and Education: Promoting awareness and education about disability issues, needs and rights is crucial for fostering a more inclusive and understanding community. 

  6. Employment Support: Facilitating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities is vital for their economic independence and social inclusion. 

  7. Emergency Preparedness: An office of disability can play a key role in developing and implementing emergency preparedness plans that account for the unique needs of residents with disabilities, ensuring their safety and well-being during crises.

In summary, an Office of Disability can serve as a valuable resource for promoting accessibility, inclusion, and equity. By addressing the specific needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities, families, and community stakeholders such an office contributes to an equitable urban environment.

Photo of the Memphis Public Library

Friday, February 2, 2024

Equity in Transportation

By Allison Donald

As Memphis embarks on the change in leadership with MATA we must continue to push for inclusion, accessibility, and a transportation system that works for everyone. 

Person using a wheelchair in front of a capitol building

On Feb 4, 2024 Transit Equity Day and Rosa Parks’ birthday the work goes on. Regardless of where folks live, access to public transit impacts all Americans. Improving public transit will benefit the environment, our physical health, the economy, socially, culturally, and increase independence.

Over thirteen percent of the Memphis population of 618,626 have disabilities. According to the AAPD, of the nearly two million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 never leave their homes because of transportation difficulties. 

Equity in transportation seeks fairness in mobility and accessibility to meet the needs of all community members. A central goal of transportation equity is to facilitate social and economic

opportunities by providing equitable levels of access to affordable and reliable transportation

options based on the needs of the populations being served, particularly populations that are

traditionally underserved. 

This population group includes low income individuals, minority individuals, elderly persons, children, and persons with disabilities. Paratransit service is crucial for those individuals who rely on it to get around. Failure of paratransit to show up or to provide effective service not only causes frustration but can also cause missed health appointments and employment problems for those who need to get to work.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in” 

  • Rosa Parks.

If you have questions about transit equity or how you can become involved in the advocacy

efforts, please contact Disability Connection Midsouth at 901-726-6406 or visit for the latest updates.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Ramps for Buses!

Memphis needs to ensure that ramps on the buses are working.

Alison Donald
By Allison Donald, Disability CONNECTION Midsouth The accessibility of transportation for people with disabilities in any city can have profound impacts on its residents.  Limiting access to essential services, employment opportunities, education, social interactions and healthcare. Unfortunately, for Memphians living with disabilities lack of transportation  is our reality.  

While the Memphis Area Transit Authority provides various types of bus services across the city, the system has proven to be inadequate for many residents.  One of the primary barriers of a viable and accessible transportation system  in Memphis are the inoperable ramps on the fixed route buses.

According to a study conducted in 2019 by the US Department of Transportation, 25.5 million Americans have self reported travel limiting disabilities.  Of this 3.6 million Americans do not leave their homes due to their disabilities.  Inadequate enforcement of required accessibility has left millions of people with no rides or having to rely on family and friends to travel in their communities.  The lack of affordable and accessible transportation contributes to social exclusion, isolation and poor health outcomes.

Ramps on public transportation enhance accessibility for individuals with limited mobility. Ramps allow wheelchair users, individuals with mobility impairments, parents with strollers, and seniors with walking aids to board and disembark public transportation vehicles with ease.  This increased accessibility promotes equal opportunities for all individuals, irrespective of their physical limitations.

"[The bus] having a ramp allows me to get on and off the bus at my own leisure,” said Brandon, who started using public transit in 2003.  "I don't have to use MATAplus which takes forever." 

The use of ramps has emerged as a vital component of public transportation, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity for all users.  MATA has tried to fill the gaps with the Paratransit system MATAplus.  However, it often misses the mark, because of the capacity constraints opposed upon riders, the service delivery, and the condition of the vehicles themselves.  As an advocate and a person living with a disability we are tired of being segregated!  We should be able to use the entire system and the only way that happens is all off the ramps are working.

  It is time for Memphis to get on board.

MATA administration at the public library

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

DC Midsouth Life: Holiday Silent Auction and Jingle Hop

Holiday Silent Auction and Jingle Hop

Friday, December 1, 2023
5pm – 8pm

Disability Connection is excited to announce our

Annual Holiday Silent Auction and Jingle Hop!

1000 S Cooper Street, lower level

All festivities will be live this year; auctions, dancing, food, Holiday Karaoke and more!

Bid tickets/number will be $20

Use the QR Code to get your Bid tickets and number.

IF you win this will be applied IF not than it will be a donation!

Great place to purchase your season’s gift

Please contact me with questions at 901-726-6404 or by email at