Oklahoma City ─ July 26 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation which prohibits discrimination and guarantees the civil rights of people with disabilities.
When President George H. W. Bush signed the legislation in 1990, he said, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”
In Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin issued a proclamation declaring July 26, 2015 as Americans with Disabilities Act Day in recognition of 15.8% of the population or more than 594,400 Oklahomans with disabilities.
The ADA focuses on equal access to employment, state and local government services, businesses that provide goods or services to the public and telecommunications, as well as education, transportation and inclusion in other aspects of community life.
“The ADA promises those of us with disabilities will have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else – something which was not protected by law before this law was enacted,” explained Joe Cordova, executive director for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services executive director.
Cordova, who is blind, was once a client of the DRS counterpart agency in New Mexico.
“We have made a lot of progress in terms of electronic accessibility,” Cordova added. “Physical accessibility to buildings has been very good. Even access to programs and services has improved, but the one area where we have the most room for significant progress is employment.”