President Obama released a proclamation July 25 in commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, calling it “one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation in our Nation’s history.”
The proclamation highlights the Justice Department’s deinstitutionalization efforts and the administration’s new health care protections for people with disabilities through the Affordable Care Act, as well its decision to ratify the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Since the passing of the ADA, persons with disabilities are leading fuller lives in neighborhoods that are more accessible and have greater access to new technologies. In our classrooms, young people with disabilities now enjoy the same educational opportunities as their peers and are gaining the tools necessary to reach their greatest potential,” the proclamation stated. “Despite these advancements, there is more work to be done, and my Administration remains committed to ending all forms of discrimination and upholding the rights of Americans with disabilities.”
The ARC released a statement for the event, celebrating the ADA’s accomplishments and pushing for additional measures to eliminate the discrimination that still pervades and restricts the lives of millions of people with disabilities.
“The ADA has empowered millions of individuals with disabilities over the last two decades, yet there is still much discrimination facing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Peter V. Berns, chief executive officer of The Arc. “This anniversary should serve as a call to action – our work will not be complete until there is full inclusion and equality for individuals with disabilities.”
A video of President George H.W. Bush signing the ADA into law on the White House lawn can be viewed here.