Celebrating the Progress and Promise of the ADA

by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas

Twenty-five years ago, on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act, signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and changing perceptions.  As a result, our society is more open and accessible to people with disabilities today than it was just a generation ago.

The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, services rendered by state and local governments, places of public accommodation, transportation, and telecommunication services.

While the ADA mandates equal access to employment for people with disabilities, two-thirds of Americans with disabilities are still unemployed or underemployed, a number that has not changed since the ADA became law. Truly, employment remains the unfulfilled promise of the ADA.

The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), a program of AAPD, will host an interfaith worship service celebrating the progress and promise of the ADA, July 26 at 3:00 PM at the First Trinity Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C. Speakers for the event are Dilshad Ali, Advisor, Enabled Muslim, and Editor-in-Chief, AltMuslim at Patheos; David Saperstein; and Mark Johnson, Director of Advocacy, Shepherd Center, and Chair, ADA Legacy Project. The Thornburgh Family Award will be presented to Rabbi Lynne Landsberg for her exemplary advocacy, in the spirit of the ADA, to expand opportunities for people with disabilities.

Continue reading on the American Association of People with Disabilities Power Grid Blog >>>

Curtis Ramsey-Lucas is director of interfaith engagement at the American Association of People with Disabilities. He coordinates the work of IDAC, a diverse nonpartisan coalition of national religious organizations from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh traditions whose core spiritual values affirm the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. 

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Jordan Dashow

About Jordan Dashow

Jordan Dashow is a 2014-2015 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. He graduated in 2014 from Tufts University and is originally from Plainview, NY where he is a member of Manetto Hill Jewish Center.

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