Easterseals Colorado is proud to support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 31st Anniversary.
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This important civil rights law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life – including employment, education, transportation, health care, and all places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to guarantee that people with disabilities have equal opportunities as everyone else (similar to civil rights protections provided to people on the basis of race, color. sex, nationality, age, and religion). The ADA is split into five titles:
- Title I – Employment (applies to employers with 15 or more employees)
- Title II – Public Services: State and Local Government (includes public transportation)
- Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities (hotels, restaurants, sports stadiums, movie theaters, etc)
- Title IV – Telecommunications
- Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions
It’s also important to remember that the definition of “disability” under the ADA is a legal term, not a medical term and therefore differs from the definition under other laws. including Social Security Disability. “The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.”
Before the ADA … There was nothing stopping businesses from refusing to hire or provide workplace accommodations for people with disabilities. The U.S. Capitol had no wheelchair ramps. Public transportation didn’t have lifts. Elevator buttons didn’t have braille. A grocery store or restaurant could refuse to serve a person with a disability.
Click here to learn more about this important civil rights law.
Easterseals History with the ADA
Easterseals was a leading supporter of the ADA and actively lobbied in Washington D.C. to ensure its passage. Easterseals also created some of the most powerful advocacy pro-ADA public service campaigns with messages to support the law and its implementation. These famous posters were made for adults and children with disabilities to bring along to protests and events across the country. The posters illustration the dilemmas and desires of Americans with disabilities and helped the county understand the reasons for the legislation. After the passing of the ADA, Easterseals worked tirelessly to ensure that all people are empowered to access their rights under the ADA. Read more about Easterseals history with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and check out some of the historical ADA campaign posters below.
We envision a world where every single one of us is 100% included and 100% empowered (Easterseals’ tagline and an idea that the ADA embodies). It means you take pride in your whole self (including your disability!), understand your limitations, and accept and love who you are. Many people view their disability as an integral part to who they are, rather than a flaw or something that should be separated from their identity. Disability pride emerged to promote human rights and in response to negative views on disability. Learn more on disability pride on Easterseals’ website with many links to further resources.
What’s Next for Disability Rights?
When building a better future, it’s important to recognize where we’ve been. It is with extreme gratitude that we recognize the pioneers, leaders, artists and activists of the Disability Rights and Inclusion movement –all of whom fought and continue to fight for a better future for people with disabilities. We honor these trailblazers as we continue the work towards building an accessible world for all. Judy Heumann is one of those leaders and her memoir “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist” is a must-read! She discusses this book, our continued fight for equal rights, and ‘what’s next’ for people with disabilities. Watch the recording on Easterseals Southern California’s YouTube page.
Also, Easterseals recent COVID-19 report found that children with disabilities were more likely to miss key developmental milestones during the pandemic and less likely to engage in virtual learning. The report also found that people with disabilities are more likely to be denied health care and be treated poorly when they do receive care. As far as we have come with the passing of the ADA in 1990, we still have a long way to go to ensure everyone is 100% empowered and 100% included in ALL aspects of life. Click here to listen to historic speeches and read stories about the importance of the ADA.
Test Your ADA Knowledge
Easterseals shared a quiz to see how much you know about the landmark ADA legislation and its impact on the disability community! If you read this blog post, you might have learned some important information to be able to show off your knowledge. Click here to take the quiz.
Remember to share your story on social media using #ThanksToTheADA #ADA31 and tagging @eastersealscolorado. Visit the Easterseals Colorado website to learn more about how we are joining the movement and leading the way to creating a Colorado where everyone, regardless of age or ability, is 100% included and 100% empowered.