Landmark 1990 legislation extended civil rights protections to disabled individuals
The Erie County Office for the Disabled will join numerous partners Sunday, July 26, at Canalside in Buffalo to participate in nationwide celebrations centered on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities and also assured them equal opportunities.
Signed July 26, 1990, the ADA brought individuals with disabilities into mainstream American life by creating community standards for disability-accessible design, encoding protections for the rights of the disabled, and guaranteeing disabled individuals were entitled to the same employment considerations as those without disabilities.
"This celebration affirms the rightful place of people with disabilities in our country, underscores the importance of protecting the rights of all citizens, and provides an opportunity to see the many ways that disabled individuals contribute and give back to our community," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "We have come a long way in just 25 years to ensure equal opportunity for the disabled, but there is more to do. I thank Executive Director Cammarata from the Office for the Disabled for constantly advocating for those with disabilities and keeping issues affecting people with disabilities at the forefront."
The ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. The ADA and ADAAA also assure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.
Executive Director of the Erie County Office for the Disabled Frank Cammarata III added, "The ADA continues to change life for millions of Americans and has made our country more inclusive. Today, we are celebrating the achievements of the past 25 years and making a pledge to another 25 years of advocating for equality for all people, including those with disabilities."
Free celebrations in Buffalo at Canalside and Wilkeson Pointe will be held from 2 p.m. until dusk in conjunction with similar events happening nationwide, and will include youth events, educational offerings, music, dance, adaptive water sports, Zumba, yoga, food and entertainment.
Along with the Erie County Office for the Disabled, organizational partners for the ADA 25th anniversary celebration include WNY Independent Living Inc., Autism Services Inc., Independent Living of Niagara County, Mental Health Peer Connection, OAHIIO, Independent Living of Genesee Region, Self Advocacy Association of New York State, Deaf Access Services, Parent to Parent, the Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, Explore and More Children's Museum, WNY Adaptive Water Sports, Learning Disabilities Association, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., Disability Education and Advocacy Network, Canalside, Accessibility Resources of University at Buffalo and the Center for Self Advocacy and Parent Network of WNY.
Maps and directions are available at www.canalsidebuffalo.com/visit-canalside.
For more information on the Erie County Office for the Disabled, visit http://www2.erie.gov/ecod/.