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753Re: New Electric Doors at Castro District's Wells Fargo!!!

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  • James Shaye Keys
    Jun 17, 2010
      Congratulations on your work with Wells Fargo to help guide them to creating a more accessible entrance. Not only will wheelchairs and people with crutches be able to enter with ease yet mothers with strollers.

      No man, woman or child in our society should be denied access to anywhere. Thank you once again for your heroic efforts.

      On Jun 16, 2010, at 2:33 PM, Justin DeCastro <justindecastro@...> wrote:

      New Electric Doors at Castro District's Wells Fargo!!!
      by Justin DeCastro

      Kudos, thanks and hugs to Wells Fargo Service Manager Marcus Stevens for diligently and caringly following through on getting new front doors with electric openers installed upon request by customers Robby Cruz-DeCastro and Darwin Dias, on behalf of the disability community and wheelchair users like themselves in San Francisco's ever-growing and ever-more socially diverse Castro District.  

      "In the last several years, I've witnessed a very noticeable increase in the number of wheelchair users now living in and enjoying the neighborhood," Cruz-DeCastro, a 39-year Castro homeowner observed.  "It's our hope that all our commercial neighbors will consider making their businesses fully accessible and more welcoming to folks with disabilities.  There are many of us in the GLBTQ community and still more of us continue to 'come out' into the light of day to take our places as queer men and women."  

      "We want and need our community to be so much more inclusive of us, too.  We're older or we're crip, we're queer, we're here!"  he exclaimed.  "So, everybody, get used to it!"

      "Yup, and that's not even to mention the huge numbers of gay and lesbian baby boomers who decide to stay put here into their retirement and will benefit from better physical accessibility around the 'hood," Dias added.  "Older queer folks want to go on living independently into our later years.  We don't want to be shut away into institutions like nursing homes.  We want to stay in our communities that are our homes for life."

      Dias, now 76, had lived in the Castro as far back as the mid-1950s and 60s when he worked with Ernie DeBaca at Cliff's Variety Store well before the neighborhood began turning gay in the early 70s.  

      "Older gays and lesbians don't want to become invisible," said Dias.  "We want to keep up an active social life and be out here in the crowds with the rest of the Castro GLBTQ family.  It's our neighborhood, too, and for most of these businesses, a little ramp work at their front doors and some interior rearranging will allow wheelchair users to patronize them, too.  Just because we're aging or have to improvise to stay mobile doesn't mean we don't still love to shop, you know?"

      "Yeah, and to eat, as well.  We have all these great restaurants in the Castro and want to be able to dine out here with our friends and families just like anyone else," Cruz explained.  

      Both men said they hoped that other business managers will follow suit like Marcus Stevens at the Castro branch of Wells Fargo Bank (557 Castro near 19th Street) in making their establishments more physically welcoming to folks with all forms of disabilities.

      "Marcus emailed me to say the new electric doors were installed," Cruz continued.  "So hurray for Marcus and Wells Fargo!  Now, if only Bank of America on Castro and 18th Street will do likewise.  There, you have two sets of doors to get through to do business and neither set has an electric door opener.  Some folks don't stop to realize how unwelcoming it feels to have to struggle with heavy doors to get in and out of that place, and I've banked at that landmark site since it was "Hibernia Beach" in 1971."

      The community at large can support improving and popularizing disability access at businesses by contacting their operations managers and suggesting they modify their establishments to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities.  

      "No queer crip left behind, ya know what I mean?" Dias joked.


                    JUSTIN DeCASTRO
             Live & Let Live! Love & Let Love!

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