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LETTERS

There is no reason to return to time when a disability barred people from public sphere

A screen shot of the Narragansett town council's Zoom meeting in May 2020.
A screen shot of the Narragansett town council's Zoom meeting in May 2020.Amanda Milkovits/The Boston Globe

Thank you to the Editorial Board for advocating remote access to public meetings as an imperative for both governmental accessibility and transparency (“Remote access to public meetings is a post-pandemic must,” Editorial, June 22).

After becoming disabled in 2014, I underwent an agonizing period of political and social isolation that made it difficult for me to find a purpose in daily life.

This past year, however, I have been able to attend and participate in robust virtual public meetings, despite my physical limitations, because of the COVID-era accommodations that were created by our state government.

That participation allowed me to have a real-world impact on public policy in the cannabis arena and gave me back a sense of self-worth I thought was gone forever. That my input played even a small role in the lawmaking process gives me hope that others with limited mobility will be able to do the same in the future.

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Our country shines at its brightest when as many people as possible are able to participate in the lawmaking process, and there is no reason to return to an era where simply being unable to leave one’s home meant losing one’s participatory standing in the public sphere.

Please support the current public-meetings bill before the Legislature and ensure that those vital virtual accessibility pathways become both mandatory and permanent.

Grant Smith Ellis

Belmont