Contact: Mark S. Quigley
WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) and its partners today celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by convening the first-ever National Disability Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.
A diverse group of more than 500 people from 48 states will gather at the multi-day Summit, intended to invigorate a national dialogue on disability policies and programs in the 21st century. Attendees will be asked to identify emerging opportunities to enhance Living, Learning and Earning for people with disabilities.
Today, the Summit participants will also celebrate the passage of the landmark ADA, which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by then President George H. W. Bush, at various events on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
"The ADA was the catalyst that ended permissible exclusion, and promised people with disabilities the same chance to risk, succeed, and fail as everyone else," remarked NCD Chairman Jonathan Young. "Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA at the Summit by beginning substantive discussions about the future of disability policies and programs, and promoting extensive collaboration at all levels of government and amongst all stakeholders."
Former President George Bush also reflected on the ADA in a statement issued to NCD. "We can give thanks that the attitudes of our society, which were once hardened and at times even closed to the concept of equal opportunity for disabled Americans, have experienced a genuine sea change over the last 20 years — and that tens of millions of Americans who were previously denied access are now fuller partners in the American Dream. It was my privilege as President to sign that landmark legislation, the American with Disabilities Act, into law; but let me hasten to salute the countless individuals and groups whose devotion and leadership led to that hopeful moment — including the legislators from both sides of the political aisle, the dedicated activists, and so many others who showed what we can achieve in Washington when the two great political parties work together."
Young hopes the Summit participants will also establish new mechanisms and build upon existing ones in order to improve the coordination of disability policies, programs, and advocacy efforts, as well as energize collaborative networks to guide future disability policy directions.
"We have shattered many barriers and set high expectations that integration and civil rights for people with disabilities are the new norm," said Young. "We expect more from the world around us and are working to bring the dreams of access and opportunity into concrete, measurable reality."
For more information, please contact Anne Sommers, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 202-272-2004 (voice); 202-272-2074 (TTY).