I would be remiss if I did not give honor and recognition to our 41st President, George H.W. Bush, for his groundbreaking legislation that was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This was a monumental piece of policy that prohibited discrimination against those with physical and intellectual disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act that Bush signed was seen as the equivalent of the Civil Rights Act for the individuals impacted by it.
At the time it was passed in 1990, it was endorsed by the Congress – the House and Senate – one of the largest majorities ever to pass a bill, which displays the overwhelming bipartisan support for the legislation. This is sometimes rare to see in politics, but it was clear how important Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility were at that time, even long before many organizations made it a priority.
This law covered several important aspects of life, specifically accessibility to buildings and public places. This included individuals with mobility challenges but also individuals who have hearing loss, individuals with low vision, limited vision or blindness. In addition to physical accommodations, personnel must be trained to collaborate and interact appropriately with disabled people.
The part of this law that impacts our organization the most is employment. People with disabilities can not and should not be discriminated against in employment settings, either as applicants for a job or as workers. The law covers a broad array of issues pertaining to employment and it gave birth to equal opportunity for thousands of individuals with disabilities to work in more inclusive settings.
Thank you, President George H.W. Bush for your courage and service to our country.