Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act

A message from MIUSA CEO Susan Sygall

Today, we celebrate the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

It feels like a difficult time to celebrate, as people in the U.S. and around the world face growing challenges to our rights, our health and our environment.

However, the ADA is cause for celebration. This hugely impactful civil rights law has changed the lives of millions of people with disabilities and their families in the U.S., and has been a model for so many disability activists globally.

Throughout MIUSA’s 40+ years of leading international exchange programs, disabled leaders and activists from other countries have learned about the long and arduous struggle, as well as the successful strategies that led to the passage of ADA and other key laws, including its predecessor, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Our exchange participants are emboldened by experiencing first-hand the impact of these laws: accessible public transportation, inclusive schools, and respect for people with disabilities as leaders and citizens. In the words of one MIUSA delegate:

“Since the ADA, the voice of women and girls with disabilities is being heard around the world. The ADA was a watershed in our lives, opening a chapter on empowerment and justice. The guarantee of the rights of persons with disabilities arising from the ADA encourages me to move forward and to strengthen my activism.” – Mila Guedes, WILD 2022, Brazil

Read more ADA messages by disability activists from around the world.

So, today, we take this time to honor and celebrate those who dedicated so many years to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as our MIUSA alumni, powerful disability activists from 135 countries, and other disability activists who continue to work for justice around the world.

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