ADA Live! Podcast to Feature Sen. Tom Harkin on July 3

June 13, 2019

Tom Harkin

The Hon. Tom Harkin—former Senator and Congressman, veteran, author, attorney and chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)—will be the featured guest on the July 3, broadcast of ADA Live! , a podcast produced by the Syracuse University Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Southeast ADA Center. University Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of BBI, will interview Sen. Harkin in celebration of the 29th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation.

Harkin served Iowa in the U.S. Senate from 1984 until his retirement in January 2015, making him the longest serving Democratic senator from his state. Previously, Harkin served 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Iowa’s fifth congressional district. He is now senior advisor to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University, Des Moines, IA.

Early in his Senate career, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy asked Harkin to craft legislation to protect the civil rights of millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities. Harkin knew firsthand about the challenges facing people with disabilities from his late brother, Frank, who was deaf from an early age. What emerged from that process would later become Harkin’s signature legislative achievement: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Considered the “Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities,” the ADA changed the landscape of America by prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including employment, schools, transportation, local government programs and places of public accommodation. To preserve the intent of the ADA after court rulings weakened its standards, Harkin and former Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the ADA Amendments Act to ensure continuing protections from discrimination for all Americans with disabilities. It was signed into law in 2008.

In the podcast, Harkin will discuss how the ADA legislation came about, its impact over the last 29 years and the future of civil rights protections for the more than 60 million people with disabilities living in the United States.

To listen to the podcast at July 3 at 1:00 pm [Eastern] or any time after, visit SoundCloud ADA Live! [] and the ADA Live! website []. Real-time captioning on July 3 at 1:00 pm [Eastern] will be available [] .  
For more information, contact the Southeast ADA Center at 404-541-9001 or visit

About BBI
The Burton Blatt Institute (“BBI”) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. Through program development, research, and public policy guidance, BBI advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar. BBI has offices in Syracuse, NY; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; New York City, NY; and Lexington, KY.  Lexington,

About the Southeast ADA Center
The Southeast ADA Center is a leader in providing information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and disability access tailored to the needs of business, government, and individuals at local, state, and regional levels. It also conducts research to reduce and eliminate barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency and to increase the civic and social participation of Americans with disabilities. Located in Atlanta, GA, it is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) of Syracuse University and one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, funded since 1991 by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

About ADA Live!
ADA Live! is a free monthly podcast produced by the Southeast ADA Center, a member of the ADA National Network and a project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. ADA Live! is released and real-time captioning is available on the first Wednesday of each month from 1-1:30 p.m. [Eastern]/Noon-12:30 p.m. [Central].  Leaders in the field share their knowledge, experience and successful strategies that increase the participation of persons with disabilities in communities and businesses. ADA Live! is supported through a fully accessible and interactive website at  The public can get up-to-the minute program information, replay past episodes, download ADA topic resources, and submit questions for past and upcoming ADA Live! episodes. Recordings of past episodes, including a transcript, resources and more information, are available at Ask questions and learn about your rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).