Victoria Baird

The ADA - an outside perspective

The ADA turns 25 this month and our very own texthelper, Victoria, give us her thoughts on the anniversary. 


We have an anniversary to celebrate.

It’s not someone’s birthday, or a wedding anniversary - it’s a celebration of one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA turns 25 this month (July 2015).

We envision a world in which all people are accepted and valued for who and how they are. From this law, it is estimated that 19% of Americans with disabilities have been protected from disability-based discrimination.

As wonderful as this anniversary is, it’s strange to think that this law was only signed by President George H.W Bush in 1990. It’s hard to believe I was 7 years old when it was passed.

As someone who lives outside of the US (Northern Ireland to be precise!), I am aware of the ADA and can see it’s impact on a global scale.

In 1993, Dr. Leandro Despouy, special rapporteur to the Human Rights Commission for the United Nations, issued the first U.N. Report on the status of human rights for persons with disabilities in the world. The ADA was one of the laws that Dr. Despouy used to support the report.

And in 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty that calls for ADA-like protections for people around the world.

This week, President Obama honored those who made the ADA law, – including  activists, congressional representatives, and stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure that millions of Americans with disabilities had the chance to make their contributions to the world.
"Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life -- schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks -- they truly belong to everyone." — President Obama

However, more needs to be done. From America, and beyond.

Organizations worldwide need to ensure that there are no barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications, to name a few.

Every organization can benefit from having disabled staff, and disabled customers.
By providing support for those with both physical and hidden disabilities, organizations have the opportunity to show their commitment to establishing and maintaining a culture of inclusion where everyone can succeed in achieving his or her own personal and professional goals.

Changing the culture within any organisation is a tough journey but it can be achieved. Not only does the organization benefit but also the staff and the community too.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the ADA. What does it mean to you?

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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