Honoring and Educating: The Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the ADA
On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush (#41) signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush (#41) signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.
In his 1990 speech introducing the Act, President Bush stated, “The Americans with Disabilities Act presents us all with an historic opportunity. It signals the end to the unjustified segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the mainstream of American life. As the Declaration of Independence has been a beacon for people all over the world seeking freedom, it is my hope that the Americans with Disabilities Act will likewise come to be a model for the choices and opportunities of future generations around the world.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair, Janet Dhillon, released a statement in support and celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She stated, “Those who work at the EEOC bring President Bush’s words to life each day as they carry out EEOC’s mission to “prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination and advance equal opportunity for all in the workplace.” To mark the Anniversary, the Agency created a website landing page, The ADA@30: The Americans with Disabilities Act 1990-2020 that provides:
- information about disability rights and responsibilities in the workplace
- a short description of the ADA
- a selection of resources to assist applicants, employees, employers (including small businesses), staffing firms, and veterans with disabilities to better understand the ADA
Throughout this 30th anniversary year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has published blogs to highlight the impact that its recent ADA enforcement efforts have made in people’s everyday lives and to honor the individuals that brought those matters to its attention. The latest blog, “Furthering the Promise of Equal Access to Health Care,” highlights how the ADA guarantees that individuals with disabilities receive equal access to medical providers like doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and hospitals. The DOJ vigorously enforces the ADA to eliminate physical and attitudinal barriers that keep individuals with disabilities from accessing the medical care they need. As the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the ADA’s fundamental principles of equality and fairness remain strong and vital guideposts.
As Eric S. Dreiband, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division, recently stated, “We are dedicated to the equal dignity of individuals with disabilities and will take action against anyone who violates federal law in dispensing healthcare in response to COVID-19. The Americans with Disabilities Act . . . protects the right of individuals with disabilities to have access to healthcare on the same basis as nondisabled people.”
Read more about the recent wins from the DOJ’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative. This initiative allows the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country to partner with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access health care.
In honor of the Anniversary, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) launched an ADA 30th anniversary website. The site features a timeline of advancements in disability and employment since the ADA’s passage and a list of celebration ideas. Examples include issuing a press release expressing your organization’s commitment to the ADA, featuring the Anniversary on your company website and social media platforms, and conducting employee training on disability inclusion.
Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, wrote a blog titled, “#ADA30: Increasing Access and Opportunity and the Thrill of Discovering What You Can Do.” In the blog, Sheehy, a competitive swimmer permanently injured when a fellow swimmer clowning around at pool’s edge unexpectedly pushed her back into the pool, shares her personal story about the effect the ADA has had on her life and discussed the importance of equal access and opportunity for all Americans.
The Council of State Governments (CSG), in collaboration with ODEP’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED), will host a six-part webinar series to explore the foundation and impact of the ADA. The webinars will feature policymakers, subject matter experts, and other leaders in the field discussing inclusive policies and programs to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Each participant will receive a certification upon completion.
- Webinar 1: The Legacy of the ADA: Celebrating 30 Years of Increasing Access and Opportunity! Thursday, July 30th from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST
- Webinar 2: The State as a Model Employer (SAME) of People with Disabilities (Aug. 13)
- Webinar 3: Getting Ready for Work – Youth Transition and Guideposts for Success (Sept. 10)
- Webinar 4: Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Policy and Practice (Sept. 24)
- Webinar 5: Accessible Transportation and Workplace Technology (Oct. 15)
- Webinar 6: Ensuring a Disability Perspective in State Policy (Nov. 19)
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) posted a blog titled “Reflections on the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” In the blog, JAN consultants share their thoughts on what the ADA means to them, both personally and professionally.