To the community,
A great day in history for people with disabilities was marked on July 26, 1987, when the United States Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law.
Although each state has enacted its own laws to enhance the federal law and protect their own citizens, the ADA remains the primary civil rights law for people living with a disability.
The ADA and state laws protect our citizens with disabilities in nearly all areas of our lives from education, housing and employment, to transportation, recreation, health care and more. Many government agencies have jumped on board to ensure that everyone is treated equally and that all people have access to government and public buildings and areas that were previously inaccessible.
Although there is still much to be done, the multitude of changes and significant progress is a wonderful blessing considering the difficulty of exacting change within our government and citizenry. Twenty-three years does seem a long time – a lifetime for some, but we’re still working the problem. Many have fought desperate fights to bring about these changes and to them I offer my heartfelt gratitude for their time, their dedication and their tears. Many more have joined their ranks or taken up the cause in their own towns and counties. Those, too, are sincerely appreciated.
Although we have many aging citizens who will need assistance, they will be able to utilize these services and freedoms that weren’t available to some people in the past. The human rights improvements in so many areas of our lives, along with the overall acceptance of persons with differences and disabilities in general will allow us to envelop our seniors, persons with disabilities, and our returning wounded warriors and veterans with understanding, acceptance and many new freedoms that our service people have fought so valiantly to protect.
David Kelly, president Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled