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Schakowsky Statement on the Anniversary of the ADA

In 1990, 28 years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.  This bipartisan effort made a commitment that our history of segregating and isolating persons with disabilities would end.  In the law’s own words, the purpose of the ADA is to “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” 

By setting enforceable standards, providing assistance for compliance, and asserting the federal government’s central role in ending discrimination, this landmark civil rights law has provided hope and opportunity for all Americans – those today living with a disability and those of us who could become disabled tomorrow.  Because of the ADA, individuals with disabilities have the legal right to fully participate in our society – the right to transportation, health services, shopping, entertainment, education, employment, public accommodations, and voting. 

Those who fought so hard to win its passage – including my friend and mentor Marca Bristo, the founder and head of Access Living – deserve to celebrate its enactment and deserve our thanks.  But as we celebrate today, we have to get to work tomorrow.  We need to build on the ADA’s promise -- whether it is passing the Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act to make sure that all new residential housing built with federal dollars is accessible or increasing employment of adults with disabilities. 

In the past year, the House passed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its home- and community-based care provisions.  We have seen legislative attempts to take away the ADA’s enforcement mechanism in the misnamed ADA Education and Reform Act.  Because of the activism and passion of disability advocates, who have truly been the tip of the spear in the fight to protect all Americans’ health care, those attempts have been unsuccessful but they are likely to continue. 

As long as discrimination still exists and as long as there are those who seek to undermine existing law, the purpose of the ADA will not have been completely met.  It is our job to make sure that happens.

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
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    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
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