Friday, February 27, 2015

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

On July 26, 2015, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. It is one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation for the disability community. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services provided by state and local governments, public services operated by private entities, transportation, commuter authorities, or telecommunications.

An excerpt from the National Council on Disability (NCD) report:

Living in the community with family and friends, working at a typical job in a regular business, and participating in community affairs is a right of citizenship, not a privilege for individuals with disabilities, as for all Americans. This right was confirmed with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, affirmed with the 1999 Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, and repeatedly reaffirmed in the years since that landmark decision. 

Disability rights are a CIVIL RIGHTS issue. Accessibility to public places & social programs, equality in employment practices and education – these are all federally protected rights for every person in the United States, including those with disabilities. We must stop viewing individuals who are disabled as subhuman or charity cases. Having ramps and elevators installed at rec centers; having ample aisle space at department stores and restaurants; providing larger stalls with handrails in public bathrooms – these are not things that people with disabilities should feel grateful for. It is not a privilege to have appropriate supports or removals of barriers. It is the LAW.

Forward RISE is a NYS nonprofit committed to the real inclusion of people with disabilities through knowledge-sharing workshops and inclusive social experiences.