WASHINGTON - More than 150 disability advocates are in Washington D.C. for the Fifth Annual Roll on Capitol Hill. The advocates had more than 200 meetings with congressional representatives on Tuesday.
The United Spinal Association organizes the annual event and it is about working with legislators to ensure wheelchair users and all people with disabilities are included in policy debates on Capitol Hill.
For those who live their lives in a wheelchair, there are countless daily activities we might take for granted, but can be a struggle for others.
“Somebody like me, a perfect example is flying into Washington Dulles [International] Airport. I can't just go out and hail a cab and be able to roll in my wheelchair, which can pose a problem for people to be able to get out and be active in their communities and be able to have an opportunity to be regular working members of society,” said Erika Bogan, a spokesperson for Mobility Ventures, one of the sponsors for the Roll on Capitol Hill.
Mobility Ventures created the first fully wheelchair accessible vehicle built from the ground up called the MV-1. While the company sells the vehicles to private individuals, they are also working to make sure cities across America have MV-1s available as taxis.
Currently, there are 16 MV-1s available as taxis in D.C. and 15 in Maryland. For those living in a wheelchair like Bogan, access to the MV-1 is more than just about transportation.
“It's also a dignity issue,” Bogan said. “I'm a 35-year-old adult woman and having to have somebody pick me up and put me in a vehicle, it's a dignity thing.”
MV-1s sell for anywhere from about $39,000 to the high $40,000s range.
The United Spinal Association will host a congressional awards reception to recognize members of Congress who have shown outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans.