WGN9 Presents founder Vanessa Harris chatting with Gaynor Hall about the premiere of #AccessibleChicago on WGN9!

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VANESSA HARRIS: I have multiple disabilities myself, and I think people with disabilities have a lot of fun. We want to be included in everything, and this museum is inclusive of people of all kinds of abilities.

GAYNOR: So that was a part of the trailer for Fun for the Disabled, the new docu series Accessible Chicago. It premieres on Wednesday. And joining us this morning to talk all about it is Vanessa Harris. Vanessa, it’s great to see you again. Thank you for coming in this morning.

VANESSA: Thanks, Gaynor.

GAYNOR: So tell us first a little bit about fun for the disabled and why you started the organization.

VANESSA: Well, Fun4theDisable believes that people with disabilities should have just as much fun, if not more fun than able bodied people. And I’m somebody with a disability. I have multiple disabilities. And I didn’t used to have a lot of fun. And so a few years ago, I reached out to an organization that dealt with disabilities. And I found a some fun things to do, nice people to deal with. And I started filming them. Yeah.

GAYNOR: And pushing that out for the larger community.


GAYNOR: Okay, so talk to us about this docu series because you are highlighting some specific places in this city that are fun and also accessible.

VANESSA: Yes. Yes. Well, we want to we want Chicago to be known internationally as a disability friendly city. People with disabilities have money to spend and we want them to spend it in Chicago. They want to find out accessible places and they want to find fun places to go to. So we came up with 16 different–the series started with ten, but we’ve expanded it to 16–that we’ve done so far. And they include the Field Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Museum, the Chicago History Museum, The Museum of Illusions, Lincoln Park Zoo.

GAYNOR: What’s your what’s your favorite site on the list? Do you have one?

VANESSA: [laughs]

GAYNOR: You have a favorite site. You don’t want to name it?

VANESSA: You’re putting me on the spot. I’ll name two.


VANESSA: The Museum of Contemporary Art. I want to go back. And also Lincoln Park Zoo.

GAYNOR: And is it your hope that by doing this, this will also encourage other facilities to do more to make sure that they are accessible? Because as these places have done a good job, there’s a long way to go, right?

VANESSA: There is. There is. The ones that we dealt with were really trying hard to make their places accessible. We also dealt with others that are improving. And each site is trying to increase their accessibility and we’re also working with others that are saying, whoa, we know we need help, but we’re looking out to you to give us guidance. Okay. So we had an expert working with us to give that give suggestions. And we also had people from the disability community make suggestions as well.

GAYNOR: Very good. Well, Vanessa, thank you so much. We’re looking forward to seeing the full series. It premieres on Wednesday, February 14th. You can find it on the Fun for the Disabled website. Also on CANTV. And the pieces will also be featured on Choose Chicago. Right?


GAYNOR: Very good. Top story.

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