In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Southeast ADA Center has launched a special virtual interview series where we speak with leaders of the disability rights movement who advance the cause of equal rights through their tireless work. The interview series and resources are available at the website Section 504 at 50.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination. The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive financial assistance from any federal department or agency, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

These organizations and employers include many hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers and human service programs. Section 504 forbids organizations and employers from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. It defines the rights of individuals with disabilities to participate in, and have access to, program benefits and services.

The Section 504 at 50 Interview Series is hosted by University Professor Peter Blanck, Jonathan Martinis and Barry Whaley of the Southeast ADA Center and Burton Blatt Institute. Guests for the series are the following:

  • Andrew Imparato, Disability Rights California
  • Charlotte McClain-Nhalpo, The World Bank
  • Emily Ladau, author and disability rights activist
  • John Wodatch, former chief of disability rights, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Judy Heumann, author and disability activist
  • Kathy Martinez, disability and accessibility strategy consultant
  • Lex Frieden, educator, disability rights activist
  • Lois Curtis, artist and plaintiff in Olmstead v. L.C.
  • Lydia X.Z. Brown, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Mohammed Ali Loufty, Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs
  • Sanchin Pavithran, The Access Board
  • Sandy Ho, Borealis Philanthropy
  • Tom Olin, social documentarian

The Southeast ADA Center, based in Lexington, Kentucky, is one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, to provide information, training and guidance on the ADA. Southeast ADA Center is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute.