Power Grid Blog
ADA Anniversary Celebration
July 24, 2012 | Sarah Hillware
"Yoshiko and Justin Dart carrying a 'Don't Tread on the ADA' sign."
In 1990, on July 26th, the United States took a step in the right direction and signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on physical or intellectual disability. The ADA defines disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The bill was introduced in the Senate the previous year in May and President George H.W. Bush signed the act into law. Thursday, July 26th, we celebrate the 22nd anniversary of civil rights and fairness.
At the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990, President George Bush stated:
“Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation's Independence Day. Today we're here to rejoice in and celebrate another 'independence day,' one that is long overdue. With today's signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom."
The ADA is the first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities in the world, which seeks to cover every aspect of a person’s daily life, from employment to public transit to telephones.
Effective on January 1st, 2009, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 greatly broadened the spectrum of ADA interpretations and added to the ADA examples of "major life activities" including, but not limited to, "caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working" as well as the operation of several specified "major bodily functions." The Act overturned a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court case which held that an employee could not be considered disabled if the impairment could be corrected by alleviating measures.
The ADA was significant because it touched so many aspects of life, crossed various branches of government, and was a bipartisan effort.
Finally, the disability community was being included in civil rights discussions. Finally, even though it took us until 1990, we paved the way for a more inclusive society. Let us celebrate this anniversary and let it encourage us to keep fighting for our rights, because we still have things left to do.
On Thursday, July 26, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, please tune in as the White House observes the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and hosts a discussion on the state of disability policy. You can tune into the live stream which will have live captioning at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
You will have the opportunity to hear from Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, as well as other senior administration officials. We also will have a panel discussion with administration officials who will discuss technology, education, community living, civil rights, employment and emergency preparedness—among other topics.