Tuesday, July 26th, marked the 21st Anniversary of the ADA--the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was a landmark civil rights law that was enacted in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush to prohibit discrimination based on disability. According to the ADA, disability is defined as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The ADA provides individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity by granting access not only to buildings, but technology and programs as well.
The ADA has played a major role in both local and national events, not only since its implementation, but in the last year alone. Many local areas continue to put the ADA to good use as they move forward with continuing improvements allowing more accessibility.
From a federal point of view, the Obama Administration reaffirmed their commitment to serving all residents with disabilities. In an executive order issued by President Obama On July 25, 2010, federal agencies have been instructed to take adequate steps in order to increase the number of disabled persons that they employ. The order stated that an additional 100,000 disabled Americans need to be hired over the next five years. The order was originally mandated in a July 2000 executive order from former President Clinton. President Obama justified the plan, stating that "As the nation's largest employer, the federal government must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities. Executive departments and agencies must improve their efforts to employ workers with disabilities through increased recruitment, hiring and retention of these individuals."
Approximately 54 million Americans have a disability. Through the implementation of this order, President Obama aims to remove the stigma attached to disabled workers and to encourage disabled Americans to actively aspire to be a part of the federal workforce.