Washington, DC – Today, The Arc joins with advocates across the country to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark civil rights law was created to eliminate discrimination against people based on their disabilities. Members of The Arc’s national staff joined administration officials, including Senior Advisor to the President Valerie B. Jarrett, at the White House this morning to commemorate the signing of this historic law.
“As we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must acknowledge the millions of advocates who made this law possible. Members of The Arc have spent the last 60 years working to promote full inclusion and equality for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but our work is far from over. Today, we look back on the many accomplishments of the last 22 years as we continue to work toward a future free of discrimination,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
The ADA protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, privately operated public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, stores, museums, etc.), transportation, and telecommunications. A person with a disability, as defined by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major bodily functions or major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such impairment, or a person who is regarded as having an impairment.
The ADA’s integration mandate has helped many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) leave institutions and move to community based settings. However, there are still many individuals living in nursing homes and other types of institutional settings who could and who want to live in more integrated settings.