Americans with Disabilities Act changed nation over 20 yearsMore than 50 people gathered Monday at the Barker’s Island Pavilion in Superior to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was passed on June 26, 1990.
By: By Laura Podgornik, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
More than 50 people gathered Monday at the Barker’s Island Pavilion in Superior to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was passed on June 26, 1990.
Twenty years ago, there were few sidewalk curb cuts. After breaking his back in 1977, Jeff Fox of Superior was taught to jump onto sidewalks. He says disabled Americans have come along way but there’s more to accomplish.
“I would like to be able to go into any town anywhere and get into all the stores with no problem; the front doors. You go to some towns and you want to take the public transportation and they say ‘Oh well, you don’t have the disabled pass.’ Well, gee whiz. I’m in a wheelchair. You know I can’t walk. All I should have to do is say I can’t walk and I should get the disabled pass.”
Fox is a member of a group called ADAPT. ADAPT members travel the country and appeal to local, state and federal government to uphold the rights of people with disabilities. ADAPT member Ben Barrett of Trego says people with disabilities need the advocacy.
“We, citizens of the United States are entitled to the least restrictive environment possible. That means if you’re in an individual who’s on a vent and say you want to live at home, you should have that right. You should not have, ‘We’re going to pay for the institution and this is it.’”
North Country Independent Living Specialist Stewart Holman of Ashland has cerebral palsy. Holman says the ADA changed his life.
“When I grew up, there were more barriers that we had to face with inaccessible buildings, government buildings, city halls, restaurants were far more inaccessible and public events such as this. Facilities in our community were inaccessible. Now they need to be and it’s part of my responsibility as a consumer, a person with a disability to let folks know that improvements still need to be made. A lot of progress has been made but we have a long way to go.”
Holman says businesses that are more disability-friendly will see more customers because of it.