July 26th marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This groundbreaking legislation ensures the civil rights of persons with disabilities as equal members of American society.
The law, which was created to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, includes provisions for employment, education, communication, transportation, governmental services and public accommodations – even those owned or operated by private entities such as restaurants and retail merchants.
This legislation fundamentally changed the world for people with disabilities – it ensured that disability did not make someone a second class citizen and that a person could not be denied services or employment due to a disability. It also changed our physical environment removing barriers with things like ramps, curb cuts, and accessible doors. Many of these changes benefit everyone. For example, curb cuts make navigating the sidewalk with a stroller or roller bag much easier and video captioning makes it possible to watch TV or Media anywhere from a crowded bar to a room with sleeping children.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary, The ADA National Network has a website with information and resources about the ADA. You can find history and timelines; social media posts and discussions; personal stories and an events calendar with celebrations from around the country. As part of the celebration, Washington State Public Affairs Network (TVW) is hosting a live event – Americans with Disabilities Act 30th Anniversary Celebration on Monday, July 27, 2020 from 11:00am – 1:00pm (Pacific). The event is a collaboration of state government agencies, community organizations and private industry.
To learn more about the fight for disability rights and the need for inclusion that culminated with the passage of the ADA, check out the excellent documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution – available on Netflix.
Trailer: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2:40)
For more information and resources to help you consider accessibility in your courses, visit Accessibility: What is it and why you should care at the Center for Academic Innovation Website.