The Story of Independnece-Our Civil Rights Act
August 25, 2015

By Nate Aalgaard
 
A poster hangs on the wall in my office. It depicts the ceremony for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act—the ADA.  I’m in this photo, and I’m very proud of that fact. The ADA was passed with strong bipartisan support in 1990. Its premise was that people with disabilities want to work and be productive, integrated members of their communities, and that until the ADA, there had not been an equal opportunity to do so.  The ADA legislation was intended to end unjust discrimination based on disability.  
          This was a culmination of a long struggle—the struggle to get this law passed, so that we could finally have civil rights protection in all aspects of life.  One of the people on the stage is Justin Dart. He has passed away now, but he is regarded as the father of the ADA.  He used his own money and time to fly to every state in the country promoting the legislation and taking testimony from people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination.  He worked tirelessly for the law’s passage.  Shortly after the signing ceremony he wrote an article for a magazine in which he said:
          “Throughout all of reported history until recent decades, people perceived as having significant disabilities have been treated as sub-humans. At worst they were killed or left as beggar-outcasts to die, at best they were cared for through subsistence welfare, out of sight and mind in institutions and back rooms. With the development of modern medicine and social responsibility, millions of 20th century humans are surviving previously fatal conditions and living on with significant disabilities....More than two decades ago many of us in the disability community concluded that Americans with disabilities would never achieve full, productive citizenship until this nation made a firm statement of law protecting their civil rights. The ADA is such a law. It establishes a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. Taken in combination with previously existing disability rights law, it provides a sound legal framework for the practical implementation of the inalienable right of all people with disabilities to participate equally in the mainstream of society. It extends to people with disabilities the same protection of their rights that is already enjoyed by the members of all other minorities.”
          This is a time to celebrate the achievements of the ADA—greater access to businesses, transportation, communication, and job accommodations. We fought for this, and we should all be proud of what we have done.
 
Aalgaard, Nate.jpg
Nate Aalgaard has been the Executive Director at Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living in Fargo since 1996. He has over 25 years of experience in Independent Living. Nate has previously on the North Dakota State Independent Living Council. 

"The Story of Independence" is a series of essays celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act and the 20th Anniversary of Independence, Inc.



The Story of Independnece-Our Civil Rights Act
August 25, 2015

By Nate Aalgaard
 
A poster hangs on the wall in my office. It depicts the ceremony for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act—the ADA.  I’m in this photo, and I’m very proud of that fact. The ADA was passed with strong bipartisan support in 1990. Its premise was that people with disabilities want to work and be productive, integrated members of their communities, and that until the ADA, there had not been an equal opportunity to do so.  The ADA legislation was intended to end unjust discrimination based on disability.  
          This was a culmination of a long struggle—the struggle to get this law passed, so that we could finally have civil rights protection in all aspects of life.  One of the people on the stage is Justin Dart. He has passed away now, but he is regarded as the father of the ADA.  He used his own money and time to fly to every state in the country promoting the legislation and taking testimony from people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination.  He worked tirelessly for the law’s passage.  Shortly after the signing ceremony he wrote an article for a magazine in which he said:
          “Throughout all of reported history until recent decades, people perceived as having significant disabilities have been treated as sub-humans. At worst they were killed or left as beggar-outcasts to die, at best they were cared for through subsistence welfare, out of sight and mind in institutions and back rooms. With the development of modern medicine and social responsibility, millions of 20th century humans are surviving previously fatal conditions and living on with significant disabilities....More than two decades ago many of us in the disability community concluded that Americans with disabilities would never achieve full, productive citizenship until this nation made a firm statement of law protecting their civil rights. The ADA is such a law. It establishes a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. Taken in combination with previously existing disability rights law, it provides a sound legal framework for the practical implementation of the inalienable right of all people with disabilities to participate equally in the mainstream of society. It extends to people with disabilities the same protection of their rights that is already enjoyed by the members of all other minorities.”
          This is a time to celebrate the achievements of the ADA—greater access to businesses, transportation, communication, and job accommodations. We fought for this, and we should all be proud of what we have done.
 
Aalgaard, Nate.jpg
Nate Aalgaard has been the Executive Director at Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living in Fargo since 1996. He has over 25 years of experience in Independent Living. Nate has previously on the North Dakota State Independent Living Council. 

"The Story of Independence" is a series of essays celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act and the 20th Anniversary of Independence, Inc.





Home  |  Donate  |  What We Do  |  News  |  Events
That's My IL  |  Youth Services  |  Who We Are  |  Contact
© 2017 Independence Inc
site by DAWA