When you get lemons, make lemonade! In my earlier post today, I mistakenly wrote that this was the 27th anniversary of the ADA.
But the attached article helped me learn that I was wrong, and also helped me learn about “The Whole Person:” a great nonprofit group in Kansas City. As you will see, their whole philosophy is that people are people first.
Such a simple concept: Why do so many people have such trouble understanding it?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had its 27th birthday on July 26, 2018.
Before this law, people with disabilities had few tools to help us gain access to places and opportunities that most people take for granted.
The link below contains many of the landmark court decisions and rewrites that have shaped the current version of the ADA. There are also links to articles about historical events that helped legislators realize that this law could not be delayed any longer.
And…these links will take you to the actual words of the ADA. They describe our right to work, to go to stores and offices, to have curb cuts available and to be participants in (not just observers of) modern life.
When a person has unresolved inner rage, it’s easy for them to find some person or “cause” upon which to unleash their fury. That’s what happened in Tampa Bay last week, when a man confronted a woman who had parked in an accessible parking place without a permit.
The attached news story gives the details: the woman’s boyfriend returned to the car, saw the man yelling at his girlfriend, and pushed the man to the ground. Upon being pushed, the man pulled out his gun and shot the other man to death.
The District Attorney is apparently not going to press charges against the shooter, because of Florida’s ”stand your ground” law.
My purpose is not to challenge the use of that law in this situation, although I think a case could be easily be made that the law does not apply. I just want to reiterate the obvious: no cause, not even the integrity of the Americans with Disabilites Act, could ever justify this result.
And it is a stark reminder for all of us (especially those who, like myself, have occasionally confronted people whom I believed were unlawfully parked in those spaces) to be cognizant of how quickly a conversation can lead to unspeakable tragedy.
We have recently been inundated with news stories about peacocks, turkeys and other assorted creatures, who are joining or attempting to join us on airline flights.
Not surpringly, this has occasionally resulted in conflicts between humans v. animals, animals v. animals and humans v. humans. Although these instances are relativly rare,the negative publicity casts a shadow on people with disabilities who genuinely need those animals in order to access airplanes.
It doesn‘t help that there is also tremendous misinformation out there about what the law actually says. That’s why it was refreshing to come across an article by the Washington Postthat explains the issues in a very clear and easy-to-read style.
One of the most important points made is the following:
Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limits the definition of “service animals“ to dogs and miniature horses, this is not true with the airline industry, which is covered by a different law – The Airline Carrier Aviation Act (ACAA). Under that law, airlines are required to allow certain other animals on board. This is because unlike the ADA, the ACAA covers what are called “emotional support animals,“ animals that are not there to perform specific tasks, but whose job is to generally ease anxiety and provide a degree of security to their handlers.
Without these animals, some passengers with disabilities may not be able to access airplanes. And since accessibility is the heart and soul of all disability laws, it must be fiercely protected.
The US Department of Transportation has recently issued proposed rules to add more restrictions on animals aboard airlines. In a subsequent post, I will discuss what I consider to be the pros and cons of these rules. In the meantime, I have provided links both to these rules and to the Washington Post article.
Twenty-nine years ago, it was fine for your potential employer to ask if you had ever had back surgery, had filed a workers’ compensation claim, or had recently spent time in the hospital.If you were a wheelchair user and had business at the upstairs county courthouse, you had two choices: ask the guards to carry you up or drag yourself up on your stomach.And since there was also no requirement that sidewalks have curb cuts, you had to take your chances when you rolled yourself down the sidewalk and then hoped to get yourself and your wheelchair safely onto the street.This sad landscape changed forever in 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. As discussed elsewhere in this website, the ADA requires non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation in areas like employment, state and local government and most private businesses that are open to the public.Of course, there are still massive violations of the ADA everywhere you look. The difference, however, is that there now is some legal apparatus to turn to for redress. And the more people do that, the more that things like elevators and curb cuts will become the norm.If you want some quick and thorough education about the ADA and other disability laws, go to https://adata.org. You will find a treasure trove of easy-to read explanations, as well as examples, recent court cases and even quizzes to test how much you have learned.And…it’s free!Happy Birthday, ADA!
On July 27, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. We are now celebrating it’s 28th anniversary.
The ADA is the reason we expect to see ramps and curb cuts, as well as close-captioning and braile.
Please celebrate and be mindful of the disability civil rights movement and how it ultimately led to this revolutionary law. As indicated in the press and in other articles in this site, it is now under attack as never before.