Failing Our Most Vulnerable

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In an effort to keep content fresh, I’m going to start posting shorter stories featuring photos that paint a clear narrative. Hope you enjoy!

Last week, I left my office to pick up a lunch from a local restaurant. My workplace borders on the most decidedly pedestrian unfriendly suburb of Rochester, Henrietta, New York. As I drove along Brighton-Henrietta Townline Road, a shoulder-less, sidewalk-free, four-lane highway pretending to be a road, I noticed a man in a manual wheelchair struggling to navigate the far right lane. Armed with no protective gear other than a neon-green jacket, this man pushed through one of the most hostile environments for non-car owners in Greater Rochester. With no cars around me, I admit that I grabbed my phone and snuck a quick photo.

I don’t know where this man was coming from or where he was going to… but I saw him struggling as a passed. I should have stopped. I should have been a better human that day. But by the time I thought about it I was a tenth of a mile past him, and still trying to get lunch for myself and my co-workers within my half-hour lunch break. No excuse, I should have been better.

So this is where we are. Our infrastructure caters to those who can drive, while leaving people like this man out to dry. What does that say about how we invest in our communities, or rather, how we don’t?

This photo sadly depicts this nation’s failure to create an America with equal access, equal opportunity and equal protection. To create a series of roads in a major suburb with death-defying pedestrian and disabled “access” is not just wrong, it’s downright irresponsible. We can be better. Let’s be better together.