23 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Today, United Cerebral Palsy, Life Labs, and people across the country celebrate the anniversary of the ADA with hope for what can be accomplished in the next 23 years.
At Life Labs, we focus primarily on forming partnerships and supporting those creating cutting edge assistive technology. However, the need for assistive technology might not be as strong if the ADA not been passed in 1990. The ADA public spaces to be accessible and prohibits discrimination based on disability, allowing more people with disabilities to work, be independent, and enjoy life without fearing injustice. The ADA can be thought of as the civil rights act for the disability community; it grants the protections and rights that the community has always deserved.
Many celebrations have taken place over the past week to celebrate the milestone. Yesterday, eight Champions of Change who “embody the spirit of the ADA” were honored in a White House ceremony. Lydia Brown, an Autistic student at Georgetown University whose advocacy and activism certainly embody the spirit of the ADA, described the event as a recognition of past work and an acknowledgement of a responsibility to continue “…fight[ing] for a cause that’s worth believing in, worth fighting for equal rights.”
Just as the White House recognized each Champion of Change for past work with an eye to the future, we celebrate this ADA milestone with cautious optimism for the days ahead. Even following the passage of the ADA, discrimination against people with disabilities remains. In order to fulfill the true promise of the ADA, our country must recognize that people with disabilities are equal, valuable members of society, and that regardless of race, gender, or ability, everyone is a person. In the next 23 years of the ADA, we hope that more work will be done to promote accessbility, reduce discrimination, and ensure a life without limits for every single person.
Featured image source: Hanna Martens, http://www.durangoherald.com