Stephen Henderson and attorney Kevin Carlson speak about the upcoming 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The main points of their discussion:
- What was it?: Henderson calls the ADA the first comprehensive legislature that guaranteed the rights of people with disabilities. Carlson says the ADA’s overall message was one of lawful inclusion, bringing people into society instead of blocking them out of it.
- Why was it important?: Carlson says the ADA ended the legacy of dependence associated with people with disabilities. He says that where before they often spent most of their lives in the home, excluded from society, the ADA showed that people with disabilities have the same productivity and ability to contribute as much as everyone else.
- Lasting effects: Carlson says one of the biggest successes of the ADA is that many of the public accommodations subsequently required have now become part of everyday life where we often take them for granted. He gives sidewalk ramps and countdown timers for pedestrian traffic signals as examples of the ways the ADA has woven itself into the fabric of American society.
Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.