25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Fri, 07/17/2015

ADA 25th Anniversary logo

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 spells OPPORTUNITY. It gives us the opportunity to achieve what we have sought for years – communication accessibility.”
–Rocky Stone

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services. The current text of the ADA includes changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325), which became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADA was originally enacted in public law format and later rearranged and published in the United States Code.

Rocky Stone who founded HLAA under the name of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People advocated for the landmark legislation. One outcome of the ADA was that communication access guidelines in public places were created both for people who are deaf and for those who are hard of hearing. The law requires “reasonable accommodation” and that can mean different things depending on the person and the situation. It provides for technology options in addition to sign language interpreters.

Stone was appointed by President Reagan to the Access Board who wrote the regulations for the ADA. If it weren’t for Rocky Stone and SHHH members at the time who gave critical input, there would be nothing in the law other than sign language and captioning. The law puts people with hearing loss on equal footing with others in the workplace and public places.

Read Lise Hamlin’s article “The ADA at 25.” She talks about accommodations for people with hearing loss.

Watch the captioned video with President George H.W. Bush talking about the ADA. He was the president who signed it into law in 1990.

Image of President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Tom Ridge Shaking Hands
President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Tom Ridge Shaking Hands

Watch video

Live Stream Broadcast of the U.S. Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Access Board Event on July 23, 2015

LIVE stream page:  http://www.ada.gov/ada_25th_anniversary/25th_event_livevideo.html

On July 23, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the U.S. Access Board will present “A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act” available as a live stream broadcast on ADA.gov.

Speakers will include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Vanita Gupta, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Tom Harkin, and Representative Steny Hoyer.

NPR’s Joe Shapiro will moderate a panel of people with disabilities, who have seen their lives changed because of enforcement actions that the Justice Department and the EEOC have taken to ensure that the civil rights of people with disabilities are upheld.  In addition, Bob Williams will read “Doing Justice,” a poem he wrote for this event.

The live stream broadcast on ADA.gov will include captions and audio description.  To access the event onJuly 23rd, go to ADA.gov and follow the link to the broadcast.  A re-broadcast will be available on July 25th, also at ADA.gov.

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act visit ADA.gov, or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).


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