Meet the Accessibility Roundtable: Chris Phillips

Meet the Accessibility Roundtable: In this series, we’ll be getting to know the team members that make up this cross-departmental working group to improve OneTable’s accessibility (learn more about the Accessibility Roundtable here). Join Naomi (they/them), Miami Field Manager, and Chris Phillips (he/him), User Experience Associate, in conversation about Chris’ story, why he joined the roundtable, and what he loves about this work.

What does accessibility mean to you?

When I think of accessibility, I think of how much easier life could be for people in every aspect. Giving people the opportunity to feel equal. In society, it is far too common that people who have accessibility challenges are overlooked. I had a personal experience in which a gentleman in a wheelchair tipped over and fell down stairs and broke his spine. This was due to the lack of wheelchair access on the sidewalk in Atlanta. Why don’t people think about everyone? For me, accessibility is about thinking about people in the world and not just from your place of privilege as an able-bodied person.

A headshot of OneTable's Technical Projects Associate Chris Phillips

How does accessibility strengthen our OneTable community?

It allows people to feel included in all things OneTable. It fosters an opportunity to join a community where you will feel cared for and nurtured through the tradition of Shabbat. Simply by offering inclusion, it makes our community stronger. Thinking about what it means to have a Shabbat for folks who are visually challenged or identify as deaf – how do we get folks to bring themselves to Shabbat, and to feel comfortable no matter who they are. For me, I have anxiety, and I hate going to places with a lot of people. How am I accommodated if there is a large Shabbat? How can I enjoy this community and feel comfortable?

What inspired you to join the Accessibility Roundtable? Do you have a personal connection to this work?

As someone who has fought mental health challenges, I thought this would be a great space to redefine the meaning of work for those who need accommodations. From experience, I know OneTable is where the spirit of compassion thrives, and people searching for themselves can find their voices again. My connection to accessibility is personal because I know what having proper support at work can feel like even when you don’t feel like yourself some days.

What’s a change or project you’ve been working on to improve OneTable’s accessibility functions for the team and/or users?

I have worked with the Accessibility roundtable, where I shared the idea of adding alt-text to the images on our site. I am also part of our Team’s Diversity Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) roundtable. I span the gamut of accessibility and inclusion efforts and OneTable. Doing the DEIB work is great because I get to see closely what our users are saying and sharing about inclusion. And then being part of the Accessibility roundtable, I get to be part of that solution. Coming up with solutions that help people is my main goal right now. 

What’s something you’re excited to learn more about? In what ways does the work of your specific department need to be mindful of accessibility needs? 

How to improve the overall accessibility of OneTable and website functionality for people who are colorblind. I want to make sure that there are always options for it to be colorblind-friendly. In general, I want it to be as easy to use for as many people as possible.

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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