As we celebrate the 32nd ADA anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we asked a few of our team members at PYD to share what the ADA means to them.
Check out their answers below, and browse through the ADA Anniversary Tool Kit for resources to use to celebrate the anniversary, share why it’s important, and learn more about it.
“For me, ADA is a human rights movement that is subtle in its many forms, but its absence is very evident. From accessibility in physical design to inclusion of all people in society – its functions and importance cannot be understated. Also, to learn the history of ADA and the challenges that were faced during its formation is so profound and inspirational. It impacted my life personally when my disability came around. It, hopefully, is situational, but the importance of knowing my rights and the knowledge of being able to advocate for myself and my needs as well as the needs of others in the community is essential to living our lives. When guiding others to be more inclusive, my advice would be if you don’t know or are unsure, just ask.” – Neda Mustafa, Youth Leadership Program Administrator
“The ADA means more opportunities and rights for individuals with disabilities to gainful and meaningful employment. We can all do a better job about being inclusive. How? Be open, have conversations, and take opportunities to learn! Through these small steps, we can do a better job of being inclusive!” – Becca Cronin, Career Readiness Program Manager
“The ADA is the single most important legislative accomplishment in the past 50 years. Since the United States has yet to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the disabled, the ADA, despite its many shortcomings, is the only foundation we have to extend universal human rights to persons with disabilities. My advice to others about being more inclusive would be to study and understand Intersectionality. Disabled rights are women’s rights; they’re BIPOC rights; they’re LGBTQIA+ rights; they’re indigenous rights, they’re immigrant rights; they’re asylum seeker and refugee rights; they’re sex worker rights; they’re labor rights. Disabled rights are universal human rights because every community, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc. has disabled people among them. We need to provide inclusive spaces that recognize the intersections.” – Athena Zeiter, Program Specialist
“The ADA is important because it recognized that there was a disparity in the way people with disabilities were treated in regards to hiring, schools, transportation, and all places open to the general public. The first step in creating change is acknowledging there is a problem. While ableism still exists today, opportunities for people with disabilities have increased and the ADA is a cornerstone for continued change toward a more inclusive world. People with disabilities are some of the most resilient and solution oriented people in society. They often have to fight harder for many opportunities and services that people without disabilities take for granted. I would challenge all of us to look beyond the outside of a person. Be open to listening to people with different opinions and experiences. Understand what people with disabilities can do rather than what they can’t.” – Joanna Dumas, Youth Services Lead Administrator
We’re grateful that the ADA helps us to achieve our goal of creating a world where young people with disabilities will be able to live with dignity and pride in who they are, and to lead self-determined lives filled with purpose.
Now we’d love to know: what does the ADA mean to you? What advice would you give to others about being more inclusive? Please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.