July 26, 2010 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is LFLegal’s tribute to both the ADA and the dedicated organizations and individuals who got the law passed and continue to implement it. In this post you can read about ADA Twentieth Anniversary Resources and
My congratulations to the disability community on this landmark occasion.
You can also read a Simplified Summary of this Document
Twentieth Anniversary Resources
Celebrations in honor of the 20th anniversary of the ADA are taking place all over the country. A good way to learn what is happening is to visit the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) 20th Anniversary website. The site contains ADA history resources, listings of events across the United States, and captioned videos of individuals speaking about what the ADA has meant to them. The site is also tracking ADA anniversary news, including press releases issued by the White House leading up the July 26 festivities in Washington D.C.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco has launched It’s Normal, a website with anniversary news, videos and a video competition, and a drive to collect signatures for the “It’s Normal” petition.
Also in the Bay Area, the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) is sponsoring the “First Annual West Coast Disability Pride Parade and Festival” on July 24. More information available on the SVILC Website.
The National ADA Network’s 20th Anniversary website is another place to find news and information about the history of the ADA and July 26 events. The site includes a robust 20th anniversary “toolkit” with substantial resources including a YouTube captioned and described anniversary video.
Information about the National Council on Disability ADA Summit, held to coincide with the ADA’s 20th anniversary, is available in the NCD Summit post on this website.
Congratulations to the Disability Community
I was introduced to the disability rights movement in 1992 when I was hired for a four month position at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). Those four months turned into four years, during which I worked with, and learned from, some of the key architects of the ADA.
My four years at DREDF gave me a deep appreciation of the need for and purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was constantly humbled by the incredible dedication of thousands of individuals who made passage of the Act possible. Without the commitment of both people who I met and people I never knew, I would not have been able to spend the past eighteen years as a disability rights lawyer.
During the four years I spent working on ADA enforcement at DREDF, I developed profound respect for the disability community. Quite remarkably, this diverse community succeeded in convincing Congress, the President, and the Department of Justice that this country needed a thorough federal law and detailed regulations recognizing the civil rights of people with disabilities in all sectors of society.
Equally important, it was, and remains, a community committed to changing perceptions and understanding about people with disabilities. Even the name of the law whose anniversary is being celebrated this month recognizes that “people” are more important than their “disability”.
When I left DREDF in 1996 to open the Law Office of Lainey Feingold, I continued ADA enforcement efforts with the blind community. During the past fourteen years I have continued to appreciate the critical importance of ADA protections for people with visual impairments.
Through my relationships with members of the blind community, I learned first hand about the effectiveness of the ADA and its regulations, as well as the continuing need for advocacy to strengthen the law whose anniversary is celebrated this month. This milestone anniversary feels like a good time to thank the members of the American Council of the Blind and ACB affiliates in California, Massachusetts, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Utah, Illinois and elsewhere, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired for their on-going commitment to ADA enforcement, and their willingness to use Structured Negotiations toward that goal.
While Structured Negotiations is a collaborative process that avoids litigation, the Americans with Disabilities Act is always in the background. As someone whose work has focused on access to information and technology, I have come to appreciate the depth and flexibility of the ADA. It is a law that recognizes that people with visual impairments need auxiliary aids and services to fully participate in various sectors of society and as such, it has been fluid enough to stay relevant twenty years after its landmark passage.
For that, and for helping improve the lives of people with disabilities across the country, the Law Office of Lainey Feingold congratulates the disability community on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.