Participant Engagement Coordinator
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. At the time, the ADA was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting discrimination in employment, transportation, and public programs based on disabilities. This year, the ADA celebrates its 25th anniversary…and there is a lot to celebrate!
The Legacy of the ADA
Because of the ADA, people with disabilities enjoy the benefits of wheelchair ramps and lifts on buses, accessible bathrooms, and books offered in Braille at public libraries. Universal design is now the “gold standard” in retail product development and architecture. Assistive technologies and devices that increase capabilities of people with disabilities have made it easier than ever to fully participate in society.
However, there are significant shortcomings. Despite major strides, the employment rate for people with disabilities is 17.6%. Barriers to accessibility persist in areas like voting and education, and discrimination and bullying are still rampant problems.
The ADA: The Next 25 Years
Despite these obstacles, I remain optimistic. The last 25 years have empowered a new generation of activists who have lived their entire lives during the ADA era. Many Americans have grown up believing that central to the ADA is the notion that every human has the right to be free. It is my belief that we will not only continue to hold businesses, lawmakers, and society at-large to the highest possible standard in upholding the tenets of the ADA but also strive to broaden its scope over the next 25 years and beyond.
We use the infographic below as a training tool for internal education about the history of disability rights. We also share it with consumers and the people we serve to celebrate the ADA anniversary and the work that remains.
Please share this infographic and think about how your organization can support people with disabilities for the next 25 years and beyond.