The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, is landmark civil rights legislation which ensures people with disabilities are entitled to the same rights as every other American. The law and its enforcement influences all sectors of public life including employment, accessibility, and public services.
Americans are celebrating 30 years of victories as well as a shift in perspective regarding those with disabilities. The ADA has served a generation of people with disabilities and paved the way for better accessibility, education and employment options. Additionally, with the advent of social media, advocacy and awareness is reaching a new generation with information about disability rights and giving rise to expansion of the movement.
The ADA is a promise to people with disabilities that enables them to achieve their full potential and the opportunity to contribute economically and socially to their communities. At the core of the ADA is the furtherance of rights and protections overlaying all categories of disabilities and providing assistance, outreach, enforcement and the prohibition of discrimination.
“This law not only can help disabled individuals learn about our rights, but I think also can really foster a sense of dignity and pride within disabled individuals to recognize that we are not the problem, we are not the ones that need to change,”Judy Heumann (one of the founders of the disability rights movement)
Moreover, in the span of 30 years, the ADA provided for more visibility of people with disabilities as public spaces and transportation became accessible. The social and personal impact the ADA has had on millions of American lives reflects on the last 30 years of progress. Nevertheless, there are still significant disparities in services, benefits and support which continue to be addressed.
Opengate joins advocates and other agencies in our collective mission to prepare individuals to achieve their personal outcomes with positivity, dignity, and respect. We recognize the positive impacts the ADA has made for all people with disabilities and persist in building better lives on its success.