On the ADA Anniversary – July 26 and throughout the year, celebrate the progress made through implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in your workplaces, schools and communities. While much progress has been made, much remains to be done.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.
The ADA and the ADAAA are not affirmative action laws. Instead, they protect Americans with disabilities against acts of discrimination on the basis of their disability. The intent of the ADA and ADAAA is to guarantee that people with disabilities have equal opportunity to access to businesses, employment, transportation, State and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.
The ADA protects over 54 million Americans with disabilities against discrimination on the basis of their disability. Disabilities are defined as physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more of their daily activities, such as working, walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or caring for oneself. People who have a record of such an impairment (for example, someone who has had a heart attack or was treated for cancer) and those regarded as having an impairment (whether or not they actually have a disability) are also protected.
In the weeks leading up to the ADA Anniversary on July 26, groups of people with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CIL), disability organizations, and State and local governments will be celebrating the full and active participation in community life made possible by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
History of ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is the most comprehensive federal civil rights law that protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination and a historical benchmark and a milestone in America’s commitment to provide access and equal opportunity for all of its citizens. Former President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990 in front of 3,000 people on the White House lawn and stated:
“Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another ‘independence day,’ one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.”