News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho

On July 26, 1990, under the hot summer sun on the South Lawn of the White House, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, banning discrimination against millions of people and requiring reasonable accommodations in schools, on transportation and in other areas of public life.

More than 2,000 people, many in wheelchairs, cheered from the lawn. Activists had waited years for this moment.

President Bush called the law a “declaration of equality,” one that opened a door to “a bright new era.” In an editorial, the New York Times wrote: “The act does more than enlarge the independence of disabled Americans. It enlarges civil rights and humanity, for all Americans.”

The Times also called the A.D.A. “the most sweeping anti-discrimination measure since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The law makes explicit the rights not just of those who are born with a disability, but of those who experience temporary disability, or who are recovering from alcohol abuse or illness. The accommodations it secured became useful to everyone, not just those with disabilities.

Anyone who has pushed a stroller or pulled a suitcase has benefited from the ramps required by the A.D.A. for wheelchair users. Anyone who has watched a video at a noisy airport has benefited from closed captioning intended for those who cannot hear. Any anyone who has had a complicated pregnancy would have been covered under the A.D.A. Yep, it used to be legal to fire you over a pregnancy.

The A.D.A. has helped solidify the creation of an umbrella identity for an increasingly empowered group of people who proudly claim themselves disabled.

For the 30th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, the New York Times is exploring what it means to live with a disability in America. As part of this project, they are focusing on the past, including the history of the disability rights movement and the lives of some advocates. They are examining the present, including how people with disabilities experience everyday life. And they are looking to the future, at innovations that may have broad impact on the way that people with disabilities live and want to live their lives.

Do you want to consider the question: What does the ADA mean to you? You can use this form to tell them what you’re wondering about, what topics related to disability and accessibility you want them to dig into and why you want to know. You may even be invited to participate in the reporting process, drawing on your experience and expertise.



For more information about the ADA contact:

Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator 

For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website:
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7