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July 26 is National Disability Independence Day. This day commemorates the signing of Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990, prohibiting the discrimination against those with disabilities. The ADA, a civil rights law, broke down barriers and prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities at work, schools, transportation and public and private spaces that are open to the public. The protections the ADA provides are similar to those provided on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. 

The ADA was followed up with progress over time that included making accessibility changes like widening narrow doorways, aisles and walkways, making bathroom stalls more accessible, adding braille signs and crosswalks for the vision impared. All of these changes helped to improve independence and safety to those with disabilities.



The story of the Americans with Disabilities Act is all about bridges - CNN

In remembering disabled activists who were instrumental in the creation of America's disability rights movement and imagining what a more inclusive movement for social justice and full civil rights for the future could look like, we keep coming back to the partnership during the late 1970s between the Black Panther Party and the 504 activists, disability rights advocates who were pushing for implementation of a long-delayed section (section 504) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Prior to the 1990 enactment the Americans with Disabilities Act, section 504 was the most important disability rights legislation in the US. Modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 prohibited those who received federal aid from discriminating against any "otherwise qualified individuals with a disability.

The A.D.A at 30: Beyond the Law’s Promise - The New York Times (2020)

This series explores how the Americans With Disabilities Act has shaped modern life for people with disabilities in the 30 years since it was passed. President Bush called the law a “declaration of equality,” one that opened a door to “a bright new era.” In an editorial, The New York Times wrote: “The act does more than enlarge the independence of disabled Americans. It enlarges civil rights and humanity, for all Americans."

8 ways in which the Americans with Disabilities Act changed everyone’s lives - National Museum of American History

The American Disabilities Act, signed in the White House on July 26, 1990, was groundbreaking for people with disabilities. But it was also groundbreaking for all American people, as it attempted to prevent the discrimination against people with disabilities that prevented them from having the full rights of citizenship. It gave people with disabilities rights for which many thousands had been fighting for decades. The disability-rights movement was a grassroots movement, and in many ways it culminated with the signing of this Act. It is the first comprehensive list of laws specifically addressing the rights of people with disabilities.



POV Beatrice - PBS SoCal | S31; Episode 8

A portrait of Beatrice Vio, a Paralympic fencing champion

How Did Kitty Cone Change Disability Rights? #BecauseOfHerStory - Smithsonian Institute

In 1977, 13 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act, Kitty Cone and other disability rights activists occupied a federal building in San Francisco. They demanded the government protect their rights. Ren, a student, speaks with Katherine Ott, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, about why Cone’s work matters.



Let’s Talk… Disability Independence Day - Cornell Inclusive Excellence Podcast

Anthony and Toral reunite for another "Let's Talk..." episode to discuss the history and impact of National Disability Independence Day on their lives. They also share a number of resources and ways that you can celebrate this day on July 26.

Disability Visibility Project Podcast - Disability Visibility Project

The Disability Visibility Project is an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture.


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