Rep. Jan Schakowsky Statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—June 2, 2015. Sunday, July 26, 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement in recognition of the many impacts of this monumental legislation:

 “I am proud to join in the 25th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.  This landmark legislation – one of the most important civil rights bills of our generation – is designed to allow people with disabilities to be full and productive members of our society.  The promise of the ADA is ‘equality of opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, inclusion and independence’ for all.  Its goal is to tear down barriers in all sectors of our society that serve to lock out so many.

The passage of the ADA twenty-five years ago was an enormous victory – brought about by advocates and activists across the country.  I particularly want to acknowledge the efforts of Marca Bristo, a constituent and friend, who continues to expand opportunities and respect for persons with disabilities through her leadership at Access Living in Chicago.  I want to thank her and the many disability advocates around the country who brought us the ADA and who are working to make its promise a reality.

For the past 25 years, the ADA has provided millions of Americans with the ability to participate fully in their communities by making workplaces, public spaces and transportation more accessible.  The ADA benefits all of us by making sure people with disabilities are not excluded from employment and other opportunities. 

This anniversary is a time to celebrate the many achievements of the ADA and those who are working to enforce it.  The ADA provides a solid foundation and we have come a long way in the twenty-five years since its passage.  We have changed, we have become a more inclusive society, but we have not fully achieved our goal of ensuring that each and every person with a disability is allowed to succeed and contribute.  One in five people with a disability lives below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is 12 percent – more than double the national average.  We can do better.  We need to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, expand employment, make housing accessible, fund convenient transportation options and provide more home- and community-based services. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act has improved our society in these past 25 years.  However, as with most civil rights issues, there is still so much more progress to be made.  While we take time to celebrate today’s anniversary, we must never be content until the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act becomes reality and every person is guaranteed ‘equality of opportunity, economic self-sufficiency, inclusion and independence.”