On the early morning of July 2nd, Dylan Itzikowitz’s life changed forever as he became the pedestrian victim of an alleged impaired driver’s accident.
As a result of his incident, Itzikowitz was confined to a wheelchair for six of the past 10 months. Although he is able to walk again, his experiences opened him up to a world of new ideas and awareness.
Itzikowitz is the co-founder of The Forward Movement, a campaign that aims to create accessibility awareness and “remove barriers – both physical and cultural – to make Ontario more accessible and inclusive for everyone.”
“I wanted to launch a campaign spreading awareness about the importance of bringing down barriers and making Toronto accessible for everyone,” he goes on to say.
The Forward Movement breaks barriers through the use of the Dynamic Symbol of Access, which was originally designed by an American organization. The symbol has already been adopted in places such as: New York, Pheonix, Ariz, Conneticut, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, B.C. along with all iPhone keyboards. The Forward Movement has launched to make Ontario more accessible.
The adoption of the new symbol displays movement, which in turn diversifies the way that society views accessibility.
“The new symbol articulates a different message of disability, it focuses on different ability,” says Itzikowitz. “Symbols dictate the way we interpret and interact with things, and I wanted to spread a message of promoting the possibility of independence, not perpetuating dependence.”
Efforts in the province have also been made to endorse the campaign. Along with a petition to mandate the Dynamic Symbol of Access throughout the province, the movement is also advocated through MPP Bill Walker in Toronto, who has “publically committed to tabling our proposed amendments at Queen’s Park.”
The movement is also preparing to present their foundation to the Minister of Accessibility, Tracy MacCharles. Not only that, but Itzikowitz says that tax payers would not have to pay any additional costs because “all old signage would be grandfathered in.”
The current Symbol of Access allows people to be informed of areas which are accessible and lack barriers. “A radical change of the symbol would create a large period of confusion, not allowing its purpose to be served. We believe the DSA is an improvement, while still close enough to the original that the message will not be lost,” claims Itzikowitz.
Ontario aims to be barrier free and accessible to all by 2025. “We are far from reaching this goal,” says Itzikowitz. “In our ideal world, there would be no need for a symbol of access, as everything would be accessible to everyone. It is the view of some, that limited accessibility is a form of segregation.”
Stickers of the Dynamic Symbol can be obtained for distribution at www.theforwardmovement.ca. You can also follow them on social media for events and up-to-date information.