Americans with Disabilities: The Act's anniversary & today's challenges
July 26, 2012
Twenty-two years ago today, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which recognized and protected the civil rights of people with disabilities ranging from physical conditions affecting mobility, stamina, sight, hearing, and speech to conditions such as emotional illness and learning disorders. But the law’s passage was just the beginning of the battle for disability rights and accessibility activists. They continue to fight for accommodations in public and private buildings and services through advocacy and lobbying, from wheelchairs chained together in the Capitol Rotunda to healthcare legislation that lets people choose between receiving care in their homes or in institutions. In Philadelphia, a recent battle has been over wheelchair-accessible taxicabs. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett’s budget shift to block-grant funding for mental health service funding was a big point of contention. And nationally, disability rights activists are pressing hotel chains to comply with ADA-inspired regulations requiring accessible lifts in hotel pools. Joining us to discuss the fight to pass the ADA and the fight to realize its promises is CASSIE JAMES-HOLDSWORTH, director of Policy and National Advocacy at Philadelphia’s Liberty Resources, Inc.; and MAUREEN DEVANEY, co-executive director of Vision for Equality.