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Split Second Foundation breaks barriers for people with disabilities

Disabled
Posted at 3:38 PM, Aug 17, 2023

A man paralyzed from the chest down is breaking barriers for people with disabilities.

Mark Raymond Junior Is the CEO of Split Second Foundation. It's an organization that provides resources for people living with disabilities. He also strives to educate and raise awareness.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 33 years ago, impacting the lives of 61 million Americans today. However, he says there are still gaps, especially for people of color.

"It's hard enough being Black in America, but being Black and disabled, it's like you're damaged goods and nobody really wants to help," Raymond Jr. said.

Not only does he have to search for a doctor that can accommodate his disabilities, but he says he hasn't found any doctors who look like him, nor can they relate to his disabled experience.

It's something Zakiya Wright knows all too well. She recently filed a civil suit for an ADA violation after a woman working at a gas station refused to pump her gas.

"She was like, 'you don't know how to pump gas?'" Wright said. "I'm like, 'no, I can't walk.' She was like, 'so how are you driving?' and I let her know I use assistance to drive. And she was like, 'well, I don't know how to pump gas.' And I was like, 'how do you work at a gas station and you don't know how to pump gas?'"

Wright says she had to call 911 to get a police officer to pump her gas. It's situations like these that Raymond Jr. hopes to end through his organization.

He's been putting policy makers, business owners and architects in a manual wheelchair to help build empathy and inspire tangible change.

He says people like Wright shouldn't have to sue in order to make people more empathetic.

"We see this so frequently in the disabled experience where lawsuits change how cities function," Raymond Jr. said.

If you've experienced an ADA violation, you can file a complaint through the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.