Paving the Way
Jones attended UC San Diego well before the ADA legislated disability accommodations. Today UC San
Diego continuously works toward better accessibility, with projects like the new path on Peterson Hill.
“Not having my
met was just a fact
of life in those days.
And it hardened me
in understanding that
you have to fight for
what you want.”
so I asked the dean if she could hold all
three classes in Revelle. She said, ‘Well,
that would involve moving 500 students,’
and I replied, ‘Yes, and they would probably
love you for it!’” Her request ultimately
denied, Jones had no other option but to put
her studies on hold. She left the university
that quarter, six courses shy of graduating.
“Not having my accommodations met was
just a fact of life in those days,” Jones says.
“And it hardened me in understanding that
you have to fight for what you want.” After
a stint teaching public school in the Watts
area of Los Angeles, Jones eventually would
return to finish her coursework and earn her
degree in biology with a minor in religious
studies in 1974. But the understanding she
developed, along with the will to fight, would
soon prove to have as much relevance in her
professional life as a formal education.
SOON AFTER GRADUATION, Jones was
faced with a unique opportunity incidentally
afforded to her by the very discrimination
she faced in her elementary school days.
“When they sent us all to a special school,
they didn’t realize they were giving us the
opportunity to organize and later create
change,” she jokes, referring to the old
friends who contacted her to help launch
Mainstream Magazine, a California-based
publication devoted to disability issues.
Jones joined the magazine’s staff and
started out doing anything the magazine
required, from fundraising to design
and editorial work, all in an era before
computers changed everything.