We work hard at Easter Seals UCP; and every day, every face, every challenge, every outcome reminds us why we do what we do.
We work side by side 20,000 children and adults with disabilities. We serve as nurse, therapist, social worker, job counselor, teacher, psychologist, caregiver and compassionate friend -- all rolled into one. And whatever our individual role --up front and visible or behind the scenes supporting those in front–- we do what we do because we believe that every person with a disability can contribute to the community by participating fully in it.
This week we celebrate a key moment in the history of our organization and our country that shaped the way people with disabilities are able to live, learn, work and play in our community today. Twenty-five years ago this Sunday, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA) a groundbreaking civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disabilities.
Thanks to that law, the people we serve and millions of individuals like them are able to take advantage of fundamental opportunities and enjoy things that 25 years ago were closed to them – and that frankly the rest of us often take for granted. Children with disabilities now sit in public school classrooms, getting the same education as the typically-developing children sitting next to them. Adults with disabilities now work in offices and job sites, doing the same jobs as their co-workers without disabilities. Individuals in wheelchairs access the same public transportation, attend the same movies and sports events as their more mobile friends.
Yes, there is much more to be done. But the difference the ADA has made since 1990 is undeniable. Check out the ADA campaign posters at http://www.easterseals.com/who-we-are/history/historical-ada-campaign.html for some powerful examples.
So on this 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, let's take a moment to appreciate how far people with disabilities have come; how far our community has come. And let's remember why we must keep working to help children and adults with disabilities be engaged and contributing members of our community. Together, we achieve better days.
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