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Power, Pride and the Road to Freedom: What Can We Say about the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990-2015?

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Presentation in conjunction with the upcoming 25th anniversary celebrations of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the May 2015 Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Combines personal reflections with history, 25th anniversary celebrations, snapshots of several Generation ADA advocates, and some predictions.

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Power, Pride and the Road to Freedom: What Can We Say about the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990-2015?

  1. 1. Power, Pride and the Road to Freedom: What Can We Say about the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990-2015? Steven E. Brown Co-Founder, Institute on Disability Culture Professor (retired) & Affiliate Faculty, Center on Disability Studies, U. of Hawaii at Manoa; Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Association of University Centers on Disabilities sebrown@hawaii.edu
  2. 2. Learning Outcomes 1. To learn about the beginnings of the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 2. To understand ways in which the ADA and disability studies are evolving and moving toward the 35th Anniversary in 2025.
  3. 3. Or, in other words… On July 26, 2015, the U.S. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA. What have we learned in these 25 years-and before? Do you know about the ADA of 1989? How did the ADA actually get passed? What did its advocates hope to accomplish and why? What has succeeded? Where do we need to improve? What’s next?
  4. 4. Working Toward Passage of the ADA or Sharing Some of My Personal History
  5. 5. Toward Independence: An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons with Disabilities - With Legislative Recommendations http://www.ncd.gov/publications/1986/February1986 National Council on Disability (then on the Handicapped), Feb. 1986
  6. 6. From the Introduction “As for other Americans, life for people with disabilities involves striving, working, taking risks, failing, teaming, and overcoming obstacles. We have all had the experience of seeking something that eludes us, of trying to reach a goal that seems to dance just out of reach. Most of us have also had the rewarding experience of surmounting obstacles to achieve a goal or accomplish a task, succeeding even though someone else or even we ourselves doubted we could do it. A major difference between persons with disabilities and other individuals is the number, degree, and complexity of the barriers they face in trying to achieve their personal goals and fulfillment. Some of these barriers result from the disabilities themselves-a disability may be considered to be the lack of some mental, physical, or emotional "tool" which most other people can call upon in addressing life's tasks.”
  7. 7. 10 major topics 1. Equal Opportunity Laws 2. Employment 3. Disincentives to Work Under Social Security Laws 4. Prevention of Disabilities 5. Transportation 6. Housing 7. Community-Based Services for Independent Living 8. Educating Children with Disabilities 9. Personal Assistance; Attendant Services, Readers and Interpreters, and 10. Coordination
  8. 8. Equal Opportunity Laws Recommendation #1 “Congress should enact a comprehensive law requiring equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, with broad coverage and setting clear, consistent, and enforceable standards prohibiting discrimination on the basis of handicap. Such a statute should be packaged as a single comprehensive bill, perhaps under such a title as "The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1986."
  9. 9. “We are not a tragic minority; we are a magnificent, triumphant majority.” Justin Dart, Jr.
  10. 10. On the Threshold of Independence: Progress on Legislative Recommendations from Toward Independence National Council on Disability http://www.ncd.gov/publications/1988/Jan1988
  11. 11. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1988: A Draft Bill PURPOSE. - It is the purpose of this Act- (1) to provide a clear and comprehensive National mandate for the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities; (2) to provide a prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities parallel in scope of coverage with that afforded in statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion; (3) to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against persons with disabilities; and (4) to invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including its power to enforce the fourteenth amendment, to regulate commerce, and to regulate interstate transportation, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-today by people with disabilities
  12. 12. Discrimination Diaries 5,000 testimonies from all 50 states collected from all 50 states Justin Dart traveled to all 50 states at least 2 times between the years of 1986 and 1990, documenting the struggles of people with disabilities to assert their rights.
  13. 13. Excerpt from “Tap-Dancing on the White House Lawn” by Steven E. Brown © 1995; Photo of 1989 “Where is George” March by Steven E. Brown ©2000 All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. Tom Olin Disability Rights Photographer
  15. 15. History of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Philadelphia, 1990, Photo by Tom Olin
  16. 16. Mac Brodie and Lex Frieden
  17. 17. ADAPT History Project At the very beginning, I looked up and thought that I would never make it. But right below me was a seven year old girl who was making the same climb, step by step, her wheelchair left somewhere below or whisked somewhere above. This was Tom Olin's young niece. I felt an obligation to be a role model for this girl and we ultimately made it to the top together. Some people may have thought that it was undignified for people in wheelchairs to crawl in that manner, but I felt that it was necessary to show the country what kinds of things people with disabilities have to face on a day-to-day basis. We had to be willing to fight for what we believed in. From “I Was There…Michael Winter http://www.adapt.org/freeourpeople/adapt25/narratives/15adapt.htm
  18. 18. Michael Winter Climbing Capitol Steps
  19. 19. “I now lift my pen to sign this Americans with Disabilities Act and say: Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” George H. W. Bush Photo of Evan Kemp, Rev. Harold Willkie, George Bush, Sandra Parrino, and Justin Dart
  20. 20. ADA of 1990 From “Findings” (5) individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers, overprotective rules and policies, failure to make modifications to existing facilities and practices, exclusionary qualification standards and criteria, segregation, and relegation to lesser services, programs, activities, benefits, jobs, or other opportunities;
  21. 21. ADA of 1990 (continued) Definitions: (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment
  22. 22. ADA of 1990 (continued) Titles I. Employment I. Public Services II. Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities
  23. 23. ADA Legacy Project Mark Johnson
  24. 24. ADA Legacy Project (continued) The mission of The ADA Legacy Project is to honor the contributions of people with disabilities and their allies by: • preserving the history of the disability rights movement; • celebrating its milestones; and • educating the public and future generations of advocates. http://www.adalegacy.com/about-us/vision-and-mission
  25. 25. The Road to Freedom Bus, 2015
  26. 26. http://www.adalegacy.com/ada25
  27. 27. Generation ADA: Words I Wheel By “25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act Sparked Positive Change in the United States” Emily Ladau http://wordsiwheelby.com/2015/04/25-ways-the- americans-with-disabilities-act-sparked-positive-change- in-the-united-states/
  28. 28. 1) Curb cuts 2) More equal opportunities for people with all types of disabilities to receive a public education 3) Increased accessible public transportation 4) Service animals are more accepted in public 5) Reasonable accommodations 6) Greater social involvement among the disability community in all areas of society 7) More civic engagement, i.e. voting 8) Expanded employment opportunities for disabled people Emily Ladau: 25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act Sparked Positive Change in the United States” (continued)
  29. 29. Emily Ladau: 25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act Sparked Positive Change in the United States” (continued) 9) Gives a stronger voice to the world’s largest minority 10) Provides a platform of civil rights for the disability community 11) Disabled athletes can thrive in adaptive sports 12) Support systems exist for people with all types of disabilities 13) Misconceptions and prejudices can be more easily debunked 14) There is a bigger presence of disability in the media 15) Adaptive products are more widely available. 16) There is a bigger focus on studying disability in academia 17) Paved the way for further legislative policy advancement for disability rights
  30. 30. Emily Ladau: 25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act Sparked Positive Change in the United States” (continued) 18) Serves as a common bond for all people with disabilities in the United States 19) Provides a legal basis to maintain momentum in pursuing accessibility and justice 20) Automatic door openers have become much more common in public places 21) Helps prevent discriminatory actions or retaliation 22) Social recognition of disabled people as full, contributing citizens 23) Acts as a symbol of disability pride and culture 24) Serves as a reminder of the positive potential of bipartisanship 25) Created a legacy for current and future generations of young activists as we carry the torch forward
  31. 31. Generation ADA (continued): Looking Forward: Thoughts on the Americans with Disabilities Act Hamza Jaka “Next up on our list: we need to become more inclusive of people with all types of disabilities, especially invisible disabilities, and remove the painful stigma associated with disability. It is getting better, and mindsets are changing, but there is still much more work to be done.” http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2013/07/26/looking-forward-thoughts- americans-disabilities-act
  32. 32. Generation ADA (continued) Autistic Hoya Lydia Brown “My name is Lydia Brown. I am autistic, disabled, and proud! I have a variety of experience in grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and outreach on disability rights issues. (Here's a link to my full professional-seeming bio -- that's the page with information about public speaking and stuff of that nature.) Right now, I'm working as a policy analyst for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, between pulling together the first-ever anthology by autistics of color with the Autism Women's Network and developing the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective.* I care about intersectional social justice, because I believe absolutely that justice must be for everyone, not just us.” http://www.autistichoya.com/p/about.html
  33. 33. Generation ADA (continued) “Beyond Disability, Beyond Compliance” Jay Rucklehaus “Weeks before Jay Ruckelshaus was to start his first year at Duke University in 2011, a diving accident created a new reality for him: quadriplegia. Moving into a Duke dorm room was put on hold as he underwent a year’s worth of hospital treatments and therapies. Ruckelshaus, now a philosophy and political science junior at Duke, is helping to organize a national disability conference on Duke’s campus on October 22 and 23 [2014]. Ruckelshaus met about a year ago with Duke administrators to discuss his idea for a national conference that would take disability discussions beyond compliance and focus instead on campus culture and the higher education experience for students with disabilities.” http://today.duke.edu/2014/09/disabilityretreat
  34. 34. Generation ADA (continued) Cara Liebowitz ADA Generation Girl: Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of the ADA “On June 3rd, 1992, I arrived in this world three months prematurely, marking my status as a disabled person and placing me squarely in the ADA Generation - the first generation of disabled people to grow up with the ADA…. The ADA shouldn't have to exist. I should not have to quote legislation in order to prove what should be self- evident - that the state of my body or mind does not erase the rights that I am entitled to. Rights should not be conditional, and yet, we have had to fight, over and over, for women's rights, for the rights of people of color, for disability rights, for gender and sexual minorities' rights, proving that the words of our founding fathers, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal." were no more than hollow lies. Yet, my wish that the ADA didn't have to exist can exist side by side with my profound gratitude that such a law does exist.” http://thatcrazycrippledchick.blogspot.com/2015/04/ada-generation-girl-reflections-on- 25th.html
  35. 35. ADA 25 Celebrate! You Tube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbUCwPT 82s4WnKwnc-vEQyw/featured
  36. 36. Toward the 35th Anniversary in 2025 Defining Disability Employment Health Insurance Housing Disability Culture Disability History Technology Hospitality Tourism
  37. 37. Or…In Other Words “Disability, or the concept of disability, as well as disabling conditions will evolve. To my way of thinking this is inevitable, because there is always a new disability, or disabilities, on the horizon, that none of us anticipates, such as the late 20th century advent of AIDS or the change of thinking and use of language in the U.S. from “mental retardation” (what in the United Kingdom is often referred to as learning disabilities) to intellectual or cognitive disability (see, for example, “The “r” Word Campaign). It is likely that one or more of these newly-developing conditions, as well as future or further reflections on current disabilities, such as changes in perceptions about intellectual disabilities (see, for example Think College, describing students with intellectual disabilities attending college) will change ways in which we perceive specific disabilities and disability in general.” from Brown, “Reflections and Expectations in Rethinking Disability: The first quarter of the 21st century”
  38. 38. Education and Disability Studies “Education will finally include disability rights as part of its curriculum from elementary to postsecondary schools. This will be, in large part, because of the successes of the disability rights movement and the infiltration of disability studies into many disciplines. But it will also be because disability scholars have broadened our approach to include disability as part of the broader world, and will be part of a global movement. This will enable us to focus specifically on disability, disability culture, and disability studies from a lens that analyzes disability both in micro and macro ways. Disability studies programs will increase, but so will disability studies as part of other curricula.” from Brown, “Reflections and Expectations in Rethinking Disability: The first quarter of the 21st century”
  39. 39. Reviewing Learning Outcomes 1. To learn about the beginnings of history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 2. To understand ways in which the ADA and disability studies are evolving and moving toward the 35th Anniversary in 2025.
  40. 40. References ADA 25 Celebrate! YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbUCwPT82s4WnKwnc-vEQyw/featured Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm#12101 Brown, Lydia. Autistic Hoya. www.autistichoya.com Brown, Steven E. (forthcoming). Reflections and Expectations in Rethinking Disability: The first quarter of the 21st century in P Devlieger, S Brown, B. Miranda, and M. Strickfaden (Eds.). Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society. Antwerp: Garant. Brown, Steven E. (1995). “Tap-Dancing on the White House Lawn” in Pain, Plain and Fancy Rappings: Poetry from the Disability Culture. Institute on Disability Culture. Dudash, April (Sept. 2014). Duke to Host National Retreat: ‘Beyond Disability, Beyond Compliance to focus on higher education student experience. Retrieved from http://today.duke.edu/2014/09/disabilityretreat Jaka, Hamza. (July 26, 2013). Looking Forward: Thoughts on the American with Disabilities Act. DipNote. US Department of State Official Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2013/07/26/looking-forward-thoughts-americans-disabilities-act
  41. 41. References (continued) Justin Dart, Jr. Quoted in Adam P. Newman, “A Brief History of Disability Rights in America.” Retrieved from http://thisdisabledamericanlife.weebly.com/a-brief-history-of-disability- rights.html Ladau, Emily. Words I Wheel By. http://wordsiwheelby.com Liebowitz, Cara. That Crazy, Crippled Chick. http://thatcrazycrippledchick.blogspot.com National Council on the Handicapped. (January 1988). On the Threshold of Independence: Progress on Legislative Recommendations from Toward Independence. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/publications/1988/Jan1988 National Council on the Handicapped. (February 1, 1986).Toward Independence: An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons With Disabilities—With Legislative Recommendations. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/publications/1986/February1986 Young, J. M. (1997, 2010). Equality of Opportunity: The Making of the Americans with Disabilities Act. National Council on Disability. Washington, D.C.
  42. 42. Image of Steve presenting at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity, Honolulu, HI 2014 disculture@gmail.com http://www.instituteondisabilityculture.org

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