The 4th of July is next week!
In 1776, the United States of America was started by the second continental congress who voted to declare their freedom from the British Empire. They declared that all men are created equal and that they should have certain rights among which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Independence day has been celebrated on the 4th of July every year, since.
However, For people with disabilities, it took more than 2 additional centuries to be able to declare independence. July was also integral in our Independence day, on July 26, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. We lovingly refer to it as the ADA, this law presented opportunities to people with disabilities that every other minority group had been enjoying for many many years. We could pursue the same dreams of equality that had been promised since the founding fathers wrote that first document. In theory, it allowed us to pursue employment without facing discrimination, to be involved in everything offered by state and local governments, without access being denied, and to enjoy entry and use of public facilities without being turned away.
Even though those rights were granted to us, we still have to fight for our independence today, more than ever. There are constant threats to Medicaid which pays for necessary long-term services and supports. There have also been threats to our precious, important ADA, by those who want to make it even more difficult to enforce the regulations that keep businesses accessible to all. additionally, we still face hidden discrimination when it comes to employment. Our challenge now people with disabilities, our friends, and allies have to fight for our independence, we have to stand up and let people know how important this is. If we don’t, there may come a time, when we won’t have an independence day to celebrate.
What freedoms do you enjoy?