National Disability Independence Day is celebrated every year on July 26. It commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disability Act (A.D.A.) in 1990. This civil rights law criminalizes any kind of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and assures them full participation in the community, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. The Americans with Disability Act covers the following areas: public accommodation, employment, transportation, and state and local government services. A.D.A. is a life-changing act for many people. Today, one in four Americans with a disability can access and participate better in their workplaces and general communities.
History of National Disability Independence Day
The American disability movement started in the 1960s, aiming to resist the age-old notion that people with disabilities are defective, and as such, need to be segregated from civic life. The movement was inspired by the broader civil rights struggles of the time. It rejected cruel attitudes and advocated for full access to opportunities in education, public life, and employment.
The passage of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was a major step for the betterment of people with disabilities. This section prohibited recipients of federal funds from discriminating against people with disabilities. Section 508 of the same act, which was later updated in 1998, included that federal information, which was distributed electronically, should be made accessible to those with disabilities. This section was updated again in 2017, to make all digital information accessible to the disabled.
The A.D.A. was first introduced in 1988, designed to build on the progress of the Rehabilitation Act and expand the rights of the disabled community into a single law to ensure their freedom from discrimination in employment, transportation, communication, and government and public establishments. Peter Berg, the project coordinator of technical assistance at the Great Lakes A.D.A. Center, states that A.D.A. has integrated people with disabilities across society.
National Disability Independence Day timeline
Roosevelt passes the Social Security Act that mandates the states to make adequate provisions for blind, dependent, and crippled children, and child welfare.
The Barden-LaFollette Act expands eligibility for vocational rehabilitation services to the blind and the mentally disabled.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits the recipients of federal funds from discriminating against people with disabilities.
The A.D.A. expands the rights of the disabled community and prohibits discrimination in employment, transportation, communication, and public establishments.
National Disability Independence Day FAQs
Which president signed the disability act?
President George H.W. Bush signed the disability act in 1990.
Who started the A.D.A.?
The A.D.A. was introduced by Sen. Weicker and Rep. Coelho.
How does the A.D.A. define a disability?
The A.D.A. defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” This is according to their official website.
How to Observe National Disability Independence Day
Spread the message. Thousands of people are unaware of the discrimination faced by people with disabilities. It is high time to reach the masses and make them aware.
Support artists with disabilities
Art adds color to life. Art made by artists with disabilities represents their chance of employment. Support the disabled community by buying their art and craftwork.
Research and study the history behind the disability movement. Join seminars and webinars, and participate in discussions, to know more about the current scenario and the effects of the A.D.A.
5 Facts About Disability You May Not Know
15% of the population is disabled
More than one billion people in the world are affected by disabilities.
India is the world’s blind capital
India has the world’s largest population of people with visual impairment.
Disability correlates with unemployment
According to W.H.O., employment rates are lower in disabled men than in non-disabled men.
19% of people have a disability
One in five people in the U.S., or 49.7 million people, have some kind of disability.
Many disabled people are not assisted
In the U.S., 70% of people with disabilities rely on friends and family to assist them with daily activities, and 40% of them do not have any assistance.
Why National Disability Independence Day is Important
It spreads awareness
National Disability Independence Day spreads information about people with disabilities. It raises awareness for this common and pertinent subject.
It acknowledges the struggle
It took years of struggle for people with disabilities to have the rights they have today. This day is to commemorate and acknowledge this struggle.
It is not enough
It reminds us that the efforts are still not enough. Many people with disabilities are still being discriminated against because of their disability.
National Disability Independence Day dates