FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For information: Nancy Crowther. 512 808 - 7486. www.adaptoftexas.org
Subject: ADAPT OF TEXAS SALUTES 30 YEARS OF CIVIL/DISABILITY RIGHTS
ADAPT of Texas will gather (masked and socially distanced)
on the Austin City Hall plaza at 10:30am on Sunday, July 26th.
We will be commemorating the passage of the important civil Rights Bill, the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA.
On July 26th 1990 President George Bush signed the Act into law on the White House lawn. The bill had been written with bipartisan support from Congress.
Since that day ADAPT of Texas has worked hard through letters, conversations, meetings, educational forums, trainings lawsuits, protests and even civil disobedience to ensure the promise of that legislation has been fulfilled in our community, state and nation. Similarly we have worked to ensure that people with disabilities are aware of their rights and protections under the law.
There Is still work to be done, but ADAPT of Texas will take this moment to acknowledge the work and sacrifice of our members, both living and passed, to achieve these goals.
Both the City of Austin and Capital Metro have become leaders in compliance with the ADA because they (sometimes reluctantly, but always in the end positively) worked with ADAPT of Texas and the rest of the disability community toward the goals of the ADA.
The ADA has led to lifts on 100% of our public transit and a vastly improved paratransit system for those who can’t ride mainline buses. It lead to accessible bus stops, to sidewalks and curb cuts so we are less often forced out into traffic to get around. ADA has allowed us to enter most places like stores, restaurants, churches and veterinary clinics, places the public goes. It has required interpreters for people who are deaf in colleges, hospitals and jails. It has paved the way for more assistive technology and removal of barriers in sidewalks for people with visual disabilities. It has prevented people with cognitive or speech disabilities from being turned away from polling places simply because it was assumed, incorrectly, they didn’t know what they were doing.
And it has done so much more. As one of our members Bill Scarborough, put it so well, it has allowed those of us with disabilities: "To Boldly Go Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before."
In addition, through the Supreme Court‘s Olmstead decision, ADA has affirmed the right of people with disabilities to live in the community instead of being warehoused in nursing homes and other institutions. ADA has helped free thousands of people from nursing homes and other institutions. ADAPT of Texas and others have gotten people out of nursing facilities and will continue fighting the unnecessary warehousing of people in nursing facilities and other institutions.
Is everything solved? Of course not. People are still striving to be free in their own homes, businesses and the like still ignore the law and don’t create access for us. People with disabilities run into problems every day. A disabled man at a local hospital was just recently denied care and died because his disabled life was deemed unworthy.
But 30 years ago access was the exception. Community services were a sliver of long term care compared to institutionalization. The needs of people with disabilities were, at best a begrudging after thought. No one would have blinked (except perhaps the family) at lack of treatment to save a disabled life. Many in ADAPT and the disability community at large remember well those days.
So ADA and the changes it HAS made must be acknowledged. And that is what we will be doing.
Although we know the dangers of COVID 19, and many of our people are not able to join us because of this, ADAPT feels this is too important an anniversary to ignore. We hope you will think it is important enough to celebrate as well.
WE WILL RIDE! ACCESS IS A CIVIL RIGHT! FREE OUR PEOPLE! OUR HOMES NOT NURSING HOMES OR OTHER INSTITUTIONS!