Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day one in Gwangju, South Korea

Picture of street in gwangju taken from pedestrian overpass
Gwangju South Korea.  Picture taken from Pedestrian Overpass.
I arrived in Gwangju, South Korea on Wednesday, after a 13-hour flight from Chicago to Seoul, a bus ride across Seoul, and a one-hour flight from Seoul to Gwangju. During the 13 hour flight, I used the restroom four times, which seems kind of reasonable for such a long flight.  Luckily, I had an aisle seat.  The two people to my left used the bathroom one time each.  One time each?

I am in Gwangju for the World Human Rights Cities Forum.  The Forum was launched in 2011 to connect cities across the globe committed to human rights.  Gwangju has history of peace and democracy.  Most recently, in 1980, students led a democracy movement to
                                                                                       protest against what at
picture of three men around bus kiosk in Gwangju South Korea
Talking about bus accessibility during tour of Gwangju
the time was a military dictatorship in South Korea.  The movement was shattered by violence.  Many students were killed by government soldiers. The event is known at the 5-18 Movement, because the events happened on May 18.  While I am here, there will be local ceremonies to honor the event and the students.

I've been invited to speak about Disability Rights and Independent Living.  Yesterday, my first full day in Korea, I was taken on a tour to study some of the access features in Gwangju.  One of the coolest visits along the tour was to the new baseball stadium, called KIA Tiger Stadium.  The stadium follows Universal Design and before construction began the architects invited members of the disability community to give input on the features of the stadium.
photo taken from stands of baseball stadium, overlooking field
KIA Tiger Stadium

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