Archived Story

Honor ADA by asking: are we accessible?

Published 10:59pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To the editor:

July 26 marked the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil rights legislation for people with disabilities.

In 1990, when President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA, he said, “Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

The ADA requires employers, state and local governments, places of public accommodation and telecommunications to be accessible and inclusive.

The law sets the minimum standard for inclusion.

Inclusive workplaces, businesses and community events benefit everyone, not just persons with disabilities.  We all have a role to play in fulfilling the promise of the ADA.

To begin, ask questions of yourself and others in the circles in which you have influence: Are we accessible and welcoming to people with all types of disabilities – physical, learning, cognitive and sensory?

How are we determining that? Do we use person-first language? Do we know the history of the disability rights movement in America that led to the ADA?

The idea that disability is a diversity/civil rights issue is new to many people.

Disability Network Southwest Michigan has been helping businesses and organizations become more aware, accessible and inclusive since 1981.

On this, the 22nd anniversary of the ADA, we invite you to call us to find out how we can help you at (269) 985-0111.

Joel W. Cooper

President and CEO

Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Kalamazoo

(269) 345-1516

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