In a recent blog post, Harvard University shared images and video from its Global Accessibility Awareness Day celebration, which took place last month. The prestigious Ivy League school held a special hybrid event on Thursday, May 18 during which GAAD co-creator Jennison Asuncion made an appearance alongside a number of other special guests.
According to the post, Harvard’s event featured remarks by several faculty members. They included associate chief diversity and inclusion officer Alexis J. Stokes, director of digital accessibility Kyle Shachmut, and chief information security and privacy officer Michael Tran Duff.
In addition to the comments made at the event, the institution presented an award to members of the content strategy group, itself a part of the school’s public affairs and communications team, for what the school described as “their work promoting accessibility through the special In Focus topic on the Harvard homepage, The Accessible World.”
In kicking off the first-ever GAAD event, Shachmut said he and his team were “thrilled” to celebrate accessibility at Harvard and beyond.
Video of the event is on YouTube. There’s an ASL version too.
However popular in the technology industry, Global Accessibility Awareness Day has been in existence only recently, beginning in 2011. According to its website, the purpose of the day, which falls on the third Thursday of May annually, is to “get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access [and] inclusion and people with different disabilities.” Asuncion’s GAAD cohort, Joe Devon, was interviewed by yours truly for this space in December 2021. Devon, a web developer, serves as accessibility boss at digital advertising agency Media Monk.
Aside from GAAD, the so-called GAAD Foundation was founded in 2021 in conjunction with its namesake holiday’s tenth anniversary. Its stated mission is to “disrupt the culture of technology and digital product development to include accessibility as a core requirement.”
More info on Harvard’s digital accessibility efforts can be found here.
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