Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On July 26th, 1990 President George H. W. Bush signed a bill into law that protects millions of Americans from discrimination. The pursuit to protect the rights of disabled Americans has been taken up by Bush Sr.’s successors.
Just last month President Obama called for a national conversation for mental health aimed at de-stigmatizing the issues to ultimately make it easier for those who need it to ask for help. The Department of Education called on schools and states to adopt principles to protect the safety and dignity of all their students. And the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program was started to get individuals the communication technologies they need to lead independent lives.
You can read much more about Obama’s commitment and contributions to the issue on the White House Blog. But, for me, one fact stands above all the other politics that shows me we are talking about real changes: Under Obama, the federal government has hired more disabled employees in decades.
Today is Starstruck Saturday, but in addition to celebrating the famous people who have made ADA and all associated efforts a possibility –like President George H.W. Bush and President Obama— I want to also celebrate all the ordinary people who dedicate their lives to advocating for and empowering people living with disabilities. For example, all those honored earlier this week in the ADA Anniversary Champions of Change Event.
Equal access. Equal opportunity. The freedom to make our lives what we will. These aren’t principles that belong to any one group or any one political party. They are common principles. They are American principles. –President Obama (20th anniversary of ADA)