Today, July 26, 2023, marks thirty-three years since President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The monumental civil rights law established that disabled people in the United States had a right to fully participate, have equal opportunities, live independently, and achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Kimberly Knackstedt, TCF senior fellow and Director of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, who served in the Biden administration as the first-ever Director of Disability Policy for the the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), released this statement:
“Each July, we celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the progress towards securing civil rights for disabled people across the country. There are more workers with disabilities employed than ever before, bolstering their own economic security. Children with disabilities have access to more educational opportunities. More adults with disabilities live in their communities alongside their families and friends, instead of in isolating and dangerous institutions. This has been transformational for people with disabilities and transformational for our country as a whole.
“But amidst this historic progress, a great deal more work remains to achieve the unrealized goals of the ADA, and to build an economy and a society where disabled people belong. This July, as we recommit to the promises of the ADA, we must recognize that from transportation to employment to housing, every policy is a disability policy. We have not yet achieved the law’s goals until we’ve achieved full access, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of American life. To support meeting these goals, at the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative at TCF, we developed the Disability Economic Justice Framework to create policies to support a society in which all disabled people have access to equitable opportunities and economic security.”