For some years now, the ubiquitous "handicapped" symbol — a blue and white logo of a person leaning back in a wheelchair known as the international symbol of access — has come under fire from disability activists who feel the logo paints disabled people as passive. Now, according to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a new logo might be gaining some traction. New York City has agreed to start using a more active logo designed by activists at Gordon College in eastern Massachusetts; current plans call for NYC to start displaying the logo all over the city starting this summer. "It's such a forward-moving thing," said Victor Calise, commissioner of the New York mayor's Office for People With Disabilities.
The movement initially started when the group behind the new logo started placing its stickers over old handicapped signs around the Gordon College campus, and eventually stickers of the final design were distributed throughout nearby Boston. While getting the logo around has largely been a "stealth operation" up to this point, visibility from the biggest city in the country should help it gain more traction. "That will make a splash," said Wayne Sailor, co-founder of disabled advocacy groupTASH and professor of special education at the University of Kansas. "I predict it will be a real trendsetter." For more on the history of this new icon, check out the Advocacy Icon Project's homepage.