Past Meetup

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

This Meetup is past

96 people went


On May 21, we invite you to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.


6:00PM Meet Greet & Eat

7:00PM Main Presentations


Ismael Herrera will provide an introduction to 'what is assistive technology', providing a brief history of a variety of devices used by persons with various disabilities. He will also speak on the assessment process used to determine the type of assistive technology needed by individuals with disabilities.

Ismael Herrera is a veteran developer of access technologies who has worked in the field since 1986. In 1995 he was invited by Xerox to participate in the creation of “Reading Edge,” a stand-alone reading scanner for the visually impaired, and in early 2000, he developed speech access for the Magic magnification software mouse which enabled blind assistive technology trainers to train persons who are partially sighted. In addition to his work with EmpowerTech, Mr. Herrera will continue to develop mobile APPS for IOS devices to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.

EmpowerTech Executive Director Joan Anderson and current EmpowerTech Board Chair and former student of the Blind Program Keith Breaux will attempt to navigate a series of trips and tasks throughout Los Angeles over the course of an entire weekend, without using any technology whatsoever. The weekend challenge, which will raise money for EmpowerTech’s program offerings, will be streamed live online, making it the ultimate reality show.

Steve Andrews (, founder and executive director of Platinum Bay Technologies (, a software technology company designed from the ground up to create successful and empowering full-stack software engineering careers for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. They specialize in making your business more efficient through line-of-business application development, job flow and data flow automation, and concierge CTO services for mid-sized businesses with an intense focus on user experience, maintainability, and reducing long-term code cost.

Matt Reamer ( is an Experience Designer at Team One USA in LA and co-founder of Dustin's Words. Dustin's Words is an open source communication device I built my brother that a small team and I are iterating and testing to make a a free alternative, consumer ready product for families in need. Matt will discuss affordable product accessibility.

Laura Bengford ( will give a brief talk on web accessibility at ICANN ( Laura is a Senior Product Manager at ICANN and manages digital engagement services and websites for the community. Laura is active in the Accessibility Working Group, which works on issues surrounding the particular needs of populations who face challenges in participating in the policy development work of ICANN, and gaining access to the Internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"): A not for profit, public benefit corporation created in 1998, with participants from all over the world, dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. The ICANN mission is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers and, in particular, to ensure the stable and secure operation of those identifier systems. In particular, ICANN coordinates the allocation and assignment of the four sets of unique identifiers for the Internet (Domain Names, Internet protocol ("IP") addresses, autonomous system ("AS") numbers, and Protocol port and parameter numbers). Moreover, ICANN coordinates the operation and evolution of the DNS root name server system and the policy development appropriately related to these technical functions.

Elizabeth Luttrell ( of Glad ( will give a short talk on accessibility for the deaf community. With the rapid growth of technology bringing new innovative ways for people to connect with each other in various avenues, leveling the playing ground for deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind communities which benefit greatly from those advances. However, with the shift towards audio-based informative and communication systems, this large demographic experience barriers within the area that offers the greatest shift towards independence.


EmpowerTech (, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that provides computer training to persons with physical and developmental disabilities, announced the appointment of Ismael Herrera as Director of Blind and Low Vision Services. EmpowerTech is the only Assistive Technology center serving the 1.8 million people living with disabilities in Los Angeles County.

More details will be posted as they become available!


LA Media Lab ( is part of a community that develops the leading startups, media companies and venture capitalists in Los Angeles, additionally, we are supported by our corporate members and are able to collaborate with both university faculty and students.

Stack Overflow Careers (

Co-founded by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood, Stack Overflow is the trusted destination for developers to find, ask, and answer programming questions. With more than 25 million monthly visitors, it’s the world’s largest programming community. Through their hiring platform, Stack Overflow Careers lets employers reach, attract, and engage talent while helping developers find jobs they love.

A big thank you to Crescent Solutions ( for sponsoring the sign language interpretation!

If you’ve experienced poor service, inconsistent candidate quality, inflexible business practices or any of the other shortcomings found in the slideshow on our home page, it’s a clear sign you need a new hiring partner. One who values your business and puts your needs ahead of everything else. One like Crescent. As a full-service IT Solutions Company with an exemplary array of value-propositions, we’re confident if you try Crescent once, you won’t think twice about using us again.



Twitter: @gbla11yday (
Hashtag: #GAAD