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For Immediate Release

Easter Seals Celebrates 25 Years of Disability Rights

Chicago, IL, July 22, 2015

Media Contact:
Becky Offill

Prior to the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25 years ago, employers could terminate employees on the basis of disability, city buses weren't required to have wheelchair lifts, people relying on wheelchairs for mobility didn’t know if they could enter the new restaurant down the street, and curb cut outs were found few and far between, if at all. Fast forward to today – more than 57 million people with disabilities have access to tools to be full participants in all aspects of society.

Easter Seals urges Americans to reflect on the progress made possible by the ADA, but to be mindful of the work that still needs to be done for the new generation of individuals living with disabilities,” says Katy Neas, Easter Seals’ Executive Vice President, Public Affairs.

Celebrating Disability History

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Easter Seals is hosting a Twitter chat to talk about the ADA's impact and what still needs to be done in the disability space. Use #ADAToday on Thursday, July 23 at 1 p.m. CDT (2 p.m. EST) to join. Easter Seals will also have a presence at the Smithsonian ADA Festival in Washington, D.C. July 24-27.

Thrive, Easter Seals’ mentorship program for young women with disabilities, is celebrating the ADA by revisiting Easter Seals’ historic PSA campaign. Individuals of all abilities are encouraged to share their ideas for a new poster that captures the importance of the monumental law. Submissions can be graphic designs, paintings, drawings, videos, audio recordings, or written descriptions. Follow the creativity using #ADA25Thrive on Twitter.

What’s Next

Beyond the celebration activities for the ADA, it's a perfect point in time to draw attention to the work that still needs to be done in terms of employment, housing and transportation.

“Too many adults with disabilities are unemployed or under-employed.  Too many people struggle to find affordable accessible housing, too many people cannot access independent living supports outside of a nursing home and air travel remains out of reach to people. We need to continue moving the bar to afford people living with disabilities the liberties they deserve,” adds Neas.

Easter Seals Fights for Civil Rights

The ADA is often described as the “emancipation proclamation” for persons with disabilities and their families across America. Prior to its passing on July 26, 1990, Easter Seals was a leading advocate for the ADA and actively lobbied in Washington and across the country for its adoption.  Easter Seals also created some of the most powerful advocacy pro-ADA public service campaign posters with messages to support the law and its implementation.

Neas explains the campaign posters “were motivating to advocates and policymakers across the country who were dedicated to the enactment of the ADA. They were reinforcing why the ADA was necessary and why discrimination on the basis of disability was wrong and should be outlawed.”

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs.  For nearly 100 years, we have been offering help, hope, and answers to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play.  To learn more about Easter Seals and services in communities nationwide, visit www.easterseals.com.

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