Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

ADA image
The Americans with Disabilities Act even makes fishing accessible!

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, legally protecting citizens from discrimination based on disability. Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects people from discrimination due to race, religion, and gender, the ADA ensures fair treatment for people with mental and physical medical conditions.

It goes even further than the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by requiring employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities. The law also removes barriers for people with disabilities in public transportation, architecture, and telecommunications, requiring places to be more accessible. That means the inclusion of everything from wheelchair ramps to listening devices for the hearing impaired.

The 25th anniversary of this landmark civil rights law was celebrated all across the country this week, and President Barack Obama gave a speech praising the importance of the ADA. He explained, “Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life — schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks — they truly belong to everyone.”

What better way to celebrate the ADA than to kick off the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles? From July 25 to August 2, there are 7,000 athletes with disabilities from 177 countries competing in 27 sports.

Featured image courtesy of Special Olympics Facebook. Image of ADA sign courtesy of USFWS Pacific.