Last week, the White House held a commemoration in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). President Obama delivered a speech and noted that while there was certainly reason to celebrate, it is “also a chance to address the injustices that still linger, to remove the barriers that remain.” The President described efforts his administration has undertaken to remove these obstacles, including signing an executive order mandating the U.S. government include more people with disabilities in its workforce and to establish the first special advisor for international disability rights at the State Department. The celebration was attended by several prominent legislators, agency heads, and leaders in the disability community, including former Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Bob Dole (R-KY) , former Congressman Tony Coelho (D-CA), Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Minority Whip, and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. View the President’s speech here, read a transcript here, and see the White House ADA anniversary fact sheet here. In addition, a number of federal agencies hosted their own events:
- The Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Access Board celebrated the event with speeches by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Steny Hoyer. During the celebration, the EEOC and DOJ signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen ADA and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act enforcement efforts by the agencies. Read more about the event here.
- The Department of Labor held a series of events including a conversation between Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and disability employment champions Senator Tom Harkin and Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Watch the video here and see the Department’s ADA webpage here.
- The Department of Education hosted an event that included a speech by Secretary Arne Duncan, a panel discussion, and outdoor demonstrations of accessible programs and resources. Learn more here.
Click here to see a comprehensive listing of all ADA commemorative events throughout the summer.