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Disability Action Center NW

The ADA was passed 33 years ago, but its history goes back much further than that. While smaller grassroots efforts had been going on for years, by the 1960s, the civil rights movement had brought national attention to barriers in employment, public transportation, and housing. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, but it left out individuals with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 made some headway when it prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability in federally funded programs, but disability advocates called for additional protections to ensure equal opportunities in other areas of public life. With the support of individual activists and groups like The Arc, the ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The ADA was later amended in 2008 to protect a broader range of individuals with disabilities. Today, the results of the ADA can be seen in nearly every public space, from curb cuts in sidewalks, to ramps and elevators in buildings and closed captions on TV.