Are you familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990?
July 26th of 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Something I should be aware of, but really wasn't. This happened in my lifetime, I was a freshman in high school and have no recollection of it at all. I am downright pissed at my adult self for not knowing. Which is why over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of the things I have learned.
Many injustices has been brought to light against human beings in my lifetime and I do not agree with any of them. But this one, people with disabilities, is under the radar. Where is the justice, riots and outcry for them? This population seems to ALWAYS be overlooked and forgotten.
The groundbreaking legislation was introduced into the Senate in 1988 by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. Why? Because his older brother Frank was deaf and he saw all the struggles his brother had, fueling his desire to help. The ADA would provide comprehensive civil rights protection for people for the first time in our nations history instead of people with disabilities being discriminated against.
Throughout history, people with disabilities have been feared, ridiculed and excluded from public places. They were not allowed in schools, denied the right to vote, pushed into institutions to live because of how they looked or acted, and even sterilized. There were barely any accommodations for in public building or transportation for adaptive equipment like wheels chairs. There was stigma, making people with disabilities a medical issue instead of a civil rights issue.
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life - and these are just the basics.
Did you know 1 in every 5 people in the United States has a disability?