Today is the 15th anniversary of The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush and was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities. Back in 1990 Congress examined the social and economic struggles faced by disabled citizens and found that among other things:
43,000,000 Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities, and this number is increasing as the population as a whole is growing older historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem unlike individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, or age, individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability have often had no legal recourse to redress such discrimination
As a result, the ADA was drafted for the purpose of:
providing a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities providing clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this Act on behalf of individuals with disabilities invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities
If you would like to learn more about the ADA, you can visit ADA Home page or watch a video of the 1990 signing ceremony. NPR reports on the ADA’s anniversary here including how the Act is helping veterans of the Iraq war.