A revamped version of the familiar blue-and-white disability icon will soon be rolling out across parking signs, bathroom doors and accessible entry ramps in New York City, thanks to a group of activists who say the traditional logo portrays them as limited, helpless and inaccurately passive.
Calise, who himself was paralyzed in a cycling accident at the age of 22, plans to begin putting the new logo in place all over New York City this summer.
He calls the old logo "stagnant," explaining that "there's no movement, and it makes people seem like they don't do much with their lives."
Many online are pleased with the news. They're hailing Calise and others, including Brian Glenney, an assistant professor of philosophy at Gordon College who helped envision the new symbol, and Harvard student Sara Hendren, who brought the design to life.
"The (old) handicap symbol, visible in every public building in the western world, offers a lifeless, passive, helpless and medical representation of people with disabilities,” Glenney said. “I realized that this representation was actually part of my own real perception of this population, and I didn’t think I was the only one. So the Accessible Icon Project began as a way of correcting this perception by re-imagining the symbols we use to represent people with disabilities.”
While the idea clearly resonates with many, the project is not immune to criticism.