The history of the UNITED STATES runs deep and is undoubtedly both amazing and stained. As our country continues to climb toward true EQUALITY, we continue to celebrate some of the biggest achievements in CIVIL RIGHTS. However, we are all still wondering how did it take this long?
We all recently celebrated the 30th ANNIVERSARY of the signing of the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, also known as the ADA, in 2020. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits DISCRIMINATION (the unjust treatment of different people on the grounds that they are different) against individuals with disabilities in all areas. This includes jobs, schools, and transportation. This law, signed by President GEORGE HW BUSH, guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. This was the first time this had ever been done. How did this come to be?
SPELL EQUALITY SPELL CIVIL RIGHTS, SPELL ANNIVERSARY
What does ADA stand for? AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
What is the word for the unjust treatment of different people on the grounds that they are different? DISCRIMINATION
Which President signed the ADA? GEORGE HW BUSH
What are we talking about today? AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
What did the ADA do? PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES IN ALL AREAS
Name one area in the ADA that prohibits discrimination. JOBS, SCHOOLS, TRANSPORTATION
In which year was the ADA signed? 2020-30 = 1990
What is something you celebrate every year?
What is discrimination in your own words?
People with disabilities have been subjected to hate, violence, and discrimination for years. Specifically, the 1960s saw the worst of it. Among many more horrific things, people with disabilities were excluded from public schools, sent to institutions, and denied the right to vote. Government buildings, businesses, and public transportation all lacked RAMPS and ELEVATORS as well. Basically, the world saw disabilities of all kinds as medical problems that needed to be solved rather than an IDENTITY to be protected.
SPELL HORRIFIC SPELL GOVERNMENT SPELL RAMPS
Many buildings in the ’60s lacked ramps, and what? ELEVATORS
In the 1960’s the world saw disabilities as what kind of problem that needed to be fixed. MEDICAL
Did people not see disabilities as a what? IDENTITY
Name one thing that people with disabilities have been subject to for years. HATE, VIOLENCE, DISCRIMINATION
Name one of the horrible things that happened to people with disabilities in the 1960s. EXCLUDED FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SENT TO INSTITUTIONS, AND DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Name two components of your identity.
Why do you think the world was inclined to see disabilities as medical problems rather than identities?
However, in the 1970s, disability rights ADVOCATES (supporters, reformers) got louder. In addition, with the return of soldiers from VIETNAM and KOREA, disability became way more visible. Many of these soldiers had lasting injuries from their time serving. In 1973, Section 504 of the REHABILITATION ACT prohibited programs receiving federal funding from discrimination against people with disabilities. This was the first time any piece of LEGISLATION used the term discrimination to describe what these individuals were facing.
SPELL SUPPORTERS SPELL FEDERAL SPELL LEGISLATION
What is the word I used for supporters or reformers? ADVOCATES
Section 504 of which act made a big splash in 1973 REHABILITATION ACT
Section 504 was the first time any legislation used what term to describe what these individuals were facing. DISCRIMINATION
Name one of the wars that soldiers were returning from during that time. VIETNAM, KOREA
Why did the return of soldiers make a difference in the disability rights movement? DISABILITIES BECAME MORE VISIBLE
What did the rehabilitation act do? PROHIBITED PROGRAMS RECEIVING FEDERAL FUNDING FROM DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
If you were to advocate for something, what would you choose? Be specific.
You’re going to a rally for the disability rights movement and making a sign. What does it say?
VAKT: Here are some photos of rallies from the disability rights movement.
Unfortunately, in order for the law to go into effect, the government needed to issue regulations defining who qualifies as a person with a disability and what constitutes discrimination in this context. Four years later, advocates became fed up with the wait, and in April of 1977, they launched an SIT IN (when a group of people occupied a place as a form of protest) in SAN FRANCISCO for 28 days, resulting in victory. Things got better, but not good enough. Regulations were still not being enforced, and in 1979 the SUPREME COURT ruled that a nursing school in NORTH CAROLINA was not required to accommodate a hearing-impaired applicant.
SPELL CONSTITUTES SPELL PROTEST SPELL NORTH CAROLINA
What did advocates launch in April 1977? A SIT-IN
Which city was the sit-in located in? SAN FRANCISCO
Who rules that a nursing school does not have to accommodate a hearing-impaired applicant? THE SUPREME COURT
What was one thing the government needed to do in order for the law to go into effect? DEFINE WHO QUALIFIES AS A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY, AND DEFINE WHAT CONSTITUTES DISCRIMINATION IN THIS CONTEXT
What is a sit-in? WHEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE OCCUPY A PLACE AS A FORM OF PROTEST
How many weeks did the sit-in last? 28/7 = 4 WEEKS
How do you think advocates felt during those four years of waiting?
Why would the supreme court make that decision?
After all of these ups and downs, advocates decided they needed COMPREHENSIVE civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. JUSTIN DART, the vice chair of the National Council on Disability, embarked on a nationwide tour to discuss this policy with local officials as well as gather stories of this horrible discrimination. Thankfully, these efforts, on top of some good luck, made an impression. Disability rights became a BIPARTISAN issue (a situation where opposing political parties agree). In 1990, after revisions, amendments, and negotiations, the ADA was passed. The ADA was a massive victory and something that is still championed and celebrated today. After it was passed, the ADA inspired change everywhere. It became a model for other countries. Since 2000, more than 180 countries have passed similar laws.
SPELL COUNCIL SPELL NATIONWIDE SPELL PARTIES
Advocates soon realized they needed what kind of civil rights legislation? COMPREHENSIVE
Who was the vice chair of the National Council on Disability? JUSTIN DART
What is the word for a situation where opposing political parties agree? BIPARTISAN ISSUE
What did Dart do? EMBARKED ON A NATIONWIDE TOUR TO DISCUSS THIS POLICY WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AS WELL AS GATHER STORIES OF THIS HORRIBLE DISCRIMINATION
The ADA was passed after many what? Name one. REVISIONS, AMENDMENTS, NEGOTIATIONS
How many countries have since passed similar laws? 180 COUNTRIES
What does comprehensive mean? ALL-ENCOMPASSING, COMPLETE
What is one challenge you imagine Dart faced on his nationwide tour? Name an issue you wish was bipartisan.
This is a photograph of Bush signing the ADA with a Senator, a Republication, a Democrat, and Justin Dart by his side.
However, the ADA is not without shortcomings. Many have criticized it for failing to increase EMPLOYMENT opportunities. For reference, only 19% of the workforce has a disability, while about 26% of the US population falls in this category. Many people are also upset with the number of accommodations available, claiming that some places still have significant obstacles for those with disabilities. For example, a government report found that 60 percent of POLLING places examined had one or more potential IMPEDIMENTS (obstructions, barriers), such as ramps that are too steep or paths that are in poor condition. Unfortunately, as well, 29 states have INCOMPETENCE laws. I will give you a second to swallow that horrific name. These laws allow judges to strip the right to vote from people they deem incapable of participating in the democratic process, such as people with mental impairments. In order to unpack all of the glaring problems with that, we would need about 60 more lessons. In an effort to not write a novel, we can sum this up by saying that although the ADA made some great strides forward, STIGMA (shame) and discrimination persist throughout society. Dart said, “It is only the beginning. It is not a solution. Rather, it is an essential foundation on which solutions will be constructed”. So, what do we do?
SPELL EMPLOYMENT, SPELL POPULATION, SPELL IMPEDIMENTS
A government report found that 60 percent of what kind of places had one or more obstacles for people with disabilities. POLLING PLACES
Twenty-nine states still have what kind of laws? INCOMPETENCE
What word did I use that means shame? STIGMA
What is another word I used for impediments? OBSTRUCTIONS, BARRIERS
Name an example of one of the impediments that polling places have that I mentioned. RAMPS THAT ARE TOO STEEP, PATHS IN POOR CONDITION
What do incompetence laws allow for? JUDGES STRIP THE RIGHT TO VOTE FROM PEOPLE THEY DEEM INCAPABLE OF PARTICIPATING IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
What is the difference between the percentage of disabled individuals in the US population and the percentage of that group in the workforce? 26-19 = 7 PERCENT
Name another stigma in this country.
How do you feel about Dart’s quote,” It is only the beginning. It is not a solution. Rather, it is an essential foundation on which solutions will be constructed”?
Creative Writing (CW):
As we celebrate this amazing advancement in the fight for the equality of people with disabilities, we face an issue. What do we do next? Write a letter to your local state official with your recommendation.
Alright, so your local office is on board to help you move forward and create a more equal world for people with disabilities. Now you have to create a call to action. What will your first event be, and how will you get people to attend?