The BZC Accessibility Committee was created in the spring of 2017 by sangha members Victory Matsui and Jacob Slominski, in response to their desire to allow those with mental and physical disabilities to fully access the Brooklyn Zen Center and its offerings.
Having encountered barriers themselves in accessing BZC because of PTSD, fragrance sensitivity, and chronic pain, Victory and Jacob were inspired to ask for support from the sangha to skilfully address and dismantle these barriers so that others with disabilities would feel more welcome. And in response, the sangha has stepped up with urgency and care to help with this important work.
Robert Beagan generously purchased and installed grab bars in the BZC bathroom. Ian Case worked to streamline access for visitors using wheelchairs. Jozen Gibson enthusiastically arranged for the Accessibility Committee to host a Wednesday night program on disability awareness. Many others have brought their intelligence, wisdom, and heart to our work as well, resulting in a brand new page on the BZC website devoted to accessibility.
Inspired by the sense of agency and joy that clearing a path for others can bring, Victory and Jacob are continuing this work with the sangha into 2018, gathering suggestions from the community with the Accessibility Box in the entryway, and deepening their understanding of ableism and disability studies.
We are always looking for support and input, so if accessibility work strikes a chord with you, please get in touch with us. We look forward to continuing to make the Brooklyn Zen Center a diverse, inclusive place where all who wish to can practice in community.
The Brooklyn Zen Center is committed to ensuring that our offerings are accessible to all. The BZC Accessibility Committee’s mission is to create a supportive environment that allows everyone to show up just as they are. The Accessibility Committee works to remedy physical barriers to practice and to facilitate conversations on ableism and disability within the larger community. We aim to create a culture that challenges ableism and honors the wisdom of disability justice practices. Anyone who would like to join the committee is welcome.
To learn more about accessibility at BZC, please see the new accessibility page here.