Celebrating the Essence of the ADA

Group of participants with and without disabilities sit at a board room table listening and taking notes
High level delegation convene at the Department of Justice
Joining U.S. activists and allies to commemorate passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and reflect on lessons learned with our global family of disability rights leaders.

We at MIUSA celebrate the ADA every day, but we especially want to take a moment on this great occasion to acknowledge and commend the strategic, unyielding, and hard-won fight - led by disability rights leaders and allies - to craft and enact this powerful, inclusive, and enforceable law. Without the hard work and commitment of cross-disability coalitions, grassroots organizers, lawyers, parents, government champions, and allies from other rights movements, we would not be where we are today. 

Twenty seven years later, we share lessons learned from this history with our global family of disability rights activists, as they work to enact strong legislation with effective enforcement in their countries. Through the RightsNow! project, MIUSA and our partners share the principles that underlie the ADA as tools that can be used to strengthen disability rights laws and policies in diverse cultural, legal, economic, and political environments. These include:

  • Reasonable Accommodations: Disability rights laws must require modifications to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as people without disabilities.
  • Specific Regulations: Very specific regulations and timelines on everything from the width of a doorway to web accessibility, curb cuts and employment practices are required to make compliance with the law measurable.  
  • No Rights without Remedies: Not only must the consequences of breaking the law be significant, but lawbreakers must be required to remedy the situation. This provides not only incentive but also a mechanism for making necessary changes.

We continue to learn from and strive alongside our disability rights colleagues around the world, working to ensure that every person with a disability in every country takes their rightful place in their local community, country, and global society. Let us keep sharing our strategies, lessons learned, challenges, and, most importantly, celebrating our successes!

Please join us by visiting our www.globaldisabilityrightsnow.org website, and exploring the resources available in English, Armenian, Spanish, Vietnamese and Sign Language, including those linked below: