Did you know that the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not begin on July 26, 1990, at the White House? True, Congress did officially pass the ADA at that time; George H. W. Bush did sign it into law. However, the movement had already begun years before due to thousands of disabled individuals looking to push through societal barriers in America.
In the 1960s, a Disability Rights Movement was taking place, which took a similar shape to that of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. People with disabilities chose to plant themselves in front of federal buildings, use their wheelchairs to obstruct inaccessible buses, and march through the streets as they demanded equal opportunities.
Through their bold endeavors, the ADA was born, America’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities. This law prohibits discrimination of any person within employment, public services, public accommodations, telecommunications, and various other provisions due to a disability.
This year, we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. Over the past 25 years, the law has succeeded in benefiting those with significant disabilities, minor disabilities, and even those with no disabilities at all. Many properties were restructured in an effort to be more accommodating. Individuals no longer have to live in fear of losing their job due to a disability. Public transportation has become more welcoming to all guests. Everyone wins in a world that is completely open and accessible to all.
With festivities taking place all over the nation, we are reminded of those who were brave in their fight for equal opportunities in America.
The courage of those who came together for a common cause is why we love the ADA (and you should too!)