Dial Dalfred: Equal access in Lafayette for people with disabilities

Dial Dalfred

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A Lafayette woman is speaking up for a marginalized group in hopes of raising awareness of the everyday struggles of people who are disabled and trying to live normal lives.

Meet Kindra Roy; that’s her husband Beau helping set up her chair before chatting with us.

Kindra has been wheelchair-bound the past four years but doesn’t let that stop her from getting out and being active.

“I don’t like to look at myself as not being able to get out and do stuff. I’m very active. I’d like to be involved especially with the kids if there’s sports or whatever it may be,” Mrs. Roy said. 

But Kindra reached her breaking point in early March while out shopping in Lafayette.

She recorded her struggle while navigating different obstacles on a sidewalk.

In the video, you can hear her say, “this is what I got to do to be able to get through these plants because there’s nowhere else on the sidewalk for me to go.”

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This particular shopping center only has one wheelchair ramp next to the lone-occupied parking space— which meets the requirements according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, but to get back to her car Kindra has to use the street and some help from her husband.

“Now I’ll have to try to jump this curb which I’ll turn the video off for this because Beau’s going to have to pick me up over the curb. But yeah, that’s that” as she described the journey to reach their vehicle.

Kindra reached out to us to raise awareness for people with disabilities, in hopes of increasing their access throughout Lafayette Parish.

“The Americans with disabilities act was passed in 1990. What do you have to consider is that for 200 years before that we’ve had tons of construction that never considered people with disabilities”, said Harlon Cowsar II.

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Cowsar II is LCG’s newly appointed Disability Awareness Coordinator. Yes, Harlon is blind. He lost his sight at 18 but like Kindra, still very independent and outgoing. In his new role, he brings a unique perspective to advocate for people with disabilities.

“The first thing is education. We have to reach out to business owners and we have to let them know that people with disabilities do want to patronize their businesses and it would benefit them, the business owners, to have accessible facilities”, Cowsar II told us.

LCG’s Disability Awareness Committee meets once every two months on the third Monday at 10 am and they always make room for public comment. Mrs. Roy says she definitely plans on attending and wants to help create a community with equal excess for all.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.

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