On July 26, 1990, on the South Lawn of the White House, President George Bush signed “the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities.” The Americans with Disabilities Act made the U.S. the international leader on this civil rights issue. In this speech, Bush says that despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, people with disabilities were still victims of segregation and discrimination. He closes his remarks by invoking the Declaration of Independence when he says, “Today’s legislation brings us closer to that day when no Americans will ever again be deprived of their basic guarantees of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
When you walk the campus grounds, see the parking areas, curb cuts, power doors and diverse community of which you are a part of. All of that is a result of the ADA. Some of us remember the days before July 26, 1990. Since then doors have opened & barriers have been removed both literally and metaphorically. Attitudes have changed as well. We’ve come a long way, but efforts to make things even better and the strive for equal access is a never ending process.
So, to honor the 23rd birthday of the ADA please join the university in it’s continuing commitment to an accessible, inclusive and welcoming environment.
Wendy Wiitala is the ADA/504 Compliance Officer. She joined the university in August, 2012. She works to uphold the laws of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to better the experience of students, employees and the public with disabilities on this campus. She is a Toledo alum of both undergraduate and graduate studies. Her work background is as an accessibility specialist at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and an instructor at UT in Disability Studies. She is married with two sons and resides in Michigan.
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