Chairbombing? Jeff Preston's mission.

Just read an old article (I have a thing for reading old newspapers and magazines…might be my obsession with history) about Jeff Preston’s life work on making Ontario accessible.

To Jeff (a man with Muscular Dystrophy in a wheelchair), staircases are a symbol of power. He makes statements against ableism through creative intervention. He was the initiator and KING OF STAIRBOMBING (I posted a picture of stairbombing at my university last year). Stairbombing is when you block off a staircase in a public place and wrap caution tape all around the railings and area. He wants to demonstrate to able-bodied individuals what a disabled person has to face on the daily. It works.

There’s another practice I haven’t heard about…it’s called CHAIRBOMBING. Chairbombing is when you show up to a movie theatre or a restaurant where the wheelchair capacity is less than 8, in groups of 40 people in wheelchairs. When the theatre cannot accommodate the people, they dipset. Pretty neat eh?

Another version of it is when a group of individuals in wheelchairs convene at the bottom of a staircase…people trying to get down the stairs have to find a way around it or another route. I know it seems like a jerk movement…but it really gets us thinking, no?

Preston also travelled from London to Ottawa on his motorized wheelchair along the highway as a way of protesting transportation barriers. This became known as the Mobilize March (25 km a day).

He can imagine a fully accessible Ontario in the year 2015. Ambitious but possible.

(info taking from Leslie Armstrong’s article in York’s Ability Supplement)