Twenty-four years ago this month, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The ADA remains a landmark piece of civil rights legislation and has influenced similar legislation around the world, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. These and similar laws have increased access for people with disabilities to education, employment, facilities, housing, transportation, communication, and other resources, enabling them to live independently in the community of their choosing.
I have very strong, very personal memories of that day in 1990. I was there at the signing (somewhere there’s a picture of me). I tracked the progress of the bill as it made its way through Congress. I watched Justin Dart work with unions, industry, and private businesses to build support for the legislation.
Change happened: first physical, then attitudinal. Curb cuts and ramps gave us access to buildings. Changes in attitude, though slower, gave us access to opportunity. What I really saw was our seat finally pulling up to the table!
#BecauseOfTheADA we have a voice. #BecauseOfTheADA we have opportunity. #BecauseOfTheADA decisions are made with us, instead of for us.
I’m looking forward to the 25th anniversary. The ADA Legacy Tour promises to be a great kick off, rallying the country around issues of access and participation. I’ll see you then!