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25 Years Ago, The Americans with Disabilities Act Revolutionized a New Sector of Diversity

MCWest

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On July 26, 2015 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The law was signed by President George H.W. Bush, in the presence of Senators Bob Dole and Tom Harkin. Both were touchstones that brought together the disability community, Congress and the American public to create landmark civil rights legislation. President Bush called it in one of his proudest moments as president.

Click here to see the White House ADA 25th Anniversary presentation. 

As a person with a disability, I acquired my disability 12 years after the ADA was signed and until then, I didn’t realize what kind of impact the law really had. 

Most people believe that the ADA was primarily about things like building of ramps to enter public places, curb cuts to make crossing streets accessible and the like, but people have to realize that the law added so much more to so many lives. I’ve know so many disabled people were directed to service entries and back doors to enter buildings. The law changed that and gave the disability demographic, people like myself, equal treatment, dignity and inclusion.

Today, as most of you know, we have developed a true sense of the appreciation of diversity and inclusion, but make no mistake; the quandary of the employment of people with disabilities is a social issue and remains a great challenge, despite the ADA’s passage. There are so many people who would be talented, productive and loyal employees if diversity and inclusion were extended to more of the disability community. 

President Bush said that “The Americans with Disabilities Act is powerful in its simplicity. It will ensure that people with disabilities are given the basic guarantees for which they have worked so long and so hard for: independence, freedom of choice, control of their lives, the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.”  

Well done President Bush, but their is more work to be done, especially in the area of disability employment.

AbilityLinks Blog – Disability Issues