By Diana Sullivan, Disability Rights/Access Specialist
The historic signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was on July 26, 1990. This law gave Americans with disabilities:
• The right to employment without discrimination
• Access to programming
• Entry into buildings that house our city, county and state governments
• Access to goods and services (including physical access) offered to the public
• Access to communication in formats accessible to people who are blind/low vision, Deaf/hard of hearing
• Access to public transportation
• Freedom from retaliation if one chooses to file a complaint.
It is a good time to reflect on how our lives have been enriched or enhanced by the ADA.
• If you use a mobility device like a wheelchair, can you get around your community more easily?
• Are you able to watch the news or your favorite program with closed captioning?
• Has your doctor hired a sign language interpreter per your request for your appointment?
• Were you able to bring your service dog to a concert or on the bus without being challenged?
• Are you able to get large print books?
• Are your requests for alternative formats honored?
If so, you can thank the thousands of people who relentlessly pushed for the legislation and who continue to fight as advocates for all of us. While some of those who were instrumental in the movement have died, new advocates are joining the work to remove barriers of all kinds.
If you, like me, appreciate the progress made but think we still have a ways to go, think about joining one of IndependenceFirst‘s advocacy teams. It is because of that fire-in-the-belly passion that we have made so much progress. Think about how your life has been changed by the ADA, and think about how you can help continue the vision.