EEDG uses Ghandian non-violence methods to educate people and to get them to comply with ADA. An example of this was our working with United Artist Movie Theater in East Hampton. We started off going to the local movie house and were put in contact with the higher ups of United Artist. After many months of trying to get a meeting with the executives of United Artist and through a letter writing campaign and many phone calls, we realized we were being stone walled. We then decided to demonstrate and picket outside the movie theatre and leaflet the community with facts of the inaccessibility of the movie theater. We immediately touched a lot of people who also spoke to the management and called the executive office. We also received good press in the local papers. Soon after, United Artist made their theater totally accessible for the physically and hearing impaired. A short time later the Southampton theatre was made accessible, and after that all United Artist theaters in the country became accessible.
Most of our success comes from our ability to personalize the issue. We talk about fairness, how all people should have the right to shop, eat at restaurants, go to the movies, and that in order to do this, we must remove barriers. Our board and many of our supporters are people with disabilities or relatives of people with disabilities. This makes our own story more effective when we talk about not being able to get our wife or child into a store or restroom.
We have generated great support for our cause from able bodied people who realize that disabilities can happen to anybody. We also point out that we are all going to get older and become mobility impaired eventually. We have learned that making a community more accessible enriches the whole community by having people with disabilities out and about.
We believe that the way to raise consciousness about the rights of the disabled community is through peaceful means of communication. This requires diplomacy, respect for other people's views, and a lot of patience. However, it also includes fortitude and persistence to get the job done.