Mission, Vision, and Values
ProtestAccess provides post-production accessibility for social justice content so that d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing, blind, and visually impaired people and English Language Learners can be involved in social justice conversations. In doing this work, ProtestAccess is committed to centering disabled BIPOC at all times.
ProtestAccess strives for a world in which we need not exist because accessible media is the standard.
- Everything we do, from the service we provide to users to communications among volunteers, needs to be done with access in mind. This is the core value.
- We know that equality is not enough. Different people need different things, and those differences are to be valued and respected.
- Lateral decision-making
- No one volunteer is more important than any other. We all rely on each other to make decisions for the organization.
- Neurodiverse community
- We all have different brains, and all of our brains deserve to be respected and accommodated.
- We actively mitigate our biases in our access work and recognize that neutrality is not unbiased in our advocacy work.
- Justice and advocacy that centers disabled BIPOC
- Disabled Black Indigenous People of Color should be at the forefront of our minds in all of our organizing. The work we do is for them above all else.
ProtestAccess began in early June, 2020, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the murder of George Floyd. Social media has been a huge boon in many ways, as it allows for an unprecedented amount of information to be shared at an incredible rate. Anyone with a phone camera can record and post instances of police brutality and authoritarianism to their Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and shed light on a topic that is often skewed or downright ignored by the mainstream media. So when protests against police brutality were by and large met with more police brutality, brave protesters did record. They got involved. They helped and protected one another. And we only got to see that side of the movement from Twitter videos.
Unfortunately, much of what is shared on social media is also partially or completely inaccessible to many people. This lack of accessibility meant that Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, and Visually Impaired people, among others, were excluded from the conversation. Ultimately, Protest Access grew out of a small group of Children and Siblings of Deaf Adults, communication access service providers, and others involved in Deaf communities, who started writing up transcripts of the videos that they were seeing on Twitter. That way, their friends and family would understand their Twitter timelines as well as anyone else, and would have the information they needed to get involved.
From there, ProtestAccess grew in a big way. In addition to basic transcripts, we added visual descriptions for Blind users and turned our transcripts into captions. We also extended our reach to Facebook and Instagram. What began as a non-organized group chat on Twitter became a formalized system of volunteers and workflow, with over 100 people all around the world donating their time to work on over 600 pieces of content, ranging from social media videos to picture-based memes. We continue to strive after months of consistent protests to bridge the access gap and make sure that everyone is included in the conversation.