Throughout the month of July, Johnson County will remember the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The impacts of the ADA have affected everyone in our country, regardless of ability. Our industries, economy and communities thrive when all people have access to employment, voting, and are fully integrated without barriers. Over the past 30 years, we have seen how making our country more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities has a positive effect on the country at large, but there is more work to do.
“There are still issues that we, people with disabilities, are still fighting for,” said De Linda Brite, a case manager for Deaf Adult Services at Johnson County Developmental Supports.
“Not too long ago, a friend of mine who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was thrown out of his wheelchair, onto a sidewalk somewhere in the metro area of KC because there were cracks or ‘potholes’ on the sidewalk where one of his wheels got caught. He ended up having some stitches on his face. I was with someone recently in the ER, and we had to fight for his rights to an interpreter. It’s been 30 years, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We’re not done yet.”
Advocacy continues in an effort to strengthen the ADA, encourage communities to increase enforcement and ensure upkeep of the infrastructure.
This article is excerpted from a longer story about the history of the ADA written by Melissa Reeves of JCDS for the next edition of JoCo Magazine, available in September.