The Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

As a young child, I remember seeing a Boy Scout stop to help a little old lady, with a cane, cross the street. My mother told me that that was the right thing for people to do. 

That is just what the ADA does, and that is just part of why it is wonderful. July 26, 2017 marks the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

We are all growing older and over 37 million people in our country have a disability. But it is not just ourselves we are concerned about. Nearly 25% of today’s 20 year olds will experience disability in their lives. 

The ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, rights similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. They also assure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications. It was passed almost unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990.  

The ADA is the law of the land; it is the government’s contract with the disability community. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of employment, in access to public services such as transportation and state and local government programs and services, and access to the goods and services provided by businesses such as restaurants, stores, and hotels, law offices and medical facilities, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology. 

On the 27th Anniversary of the ADA, we need to be that “Boy Scout” and keep on helping that little old lady cross that street. We all, whether we are disabled or not, have to keep fighting for the ADA to make sure it stays strong and to make sure it is enforced. Our California Democratic Party believes in the ADA. 

The CDP is working to make all our meetings and activities accessible to people with disabilities. After all, a democracy depends on the participation of all the citizens, not just the tallest, the quickest, or the most able. Celebrate the ADA; it is the DEMOCRATIC thing to do. 

In Solidarity,

Hene Kelly,
Chair of the CDP Disabilities Caucus

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