Local Organizations Plan Celebration for 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act - June 9, 2015

ada25In the spirit of collaboration 17 organizations are planning a celebration to formally acknowledge the official 25th anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act on Sunday, July 26.  The festivities are free and open to the public and kick off at Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr Street at 11:00am, with a proclamation from City dignitaries.  A brief history of the landmark ADA legislation will occur and information about local organizations serving people with disabilities will be available.  Refreshments will be provided.

In observance of this momentous occasion, the supporters have hosted the ADA Legacy Bus in March and have been hosting free monthly luncheon meetings educating the public on disability related topics.  Lunch & Learn themes have included: developing quality, affordable, universally designed housing; Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act; transition from school to work for youth; website accessibility; and assistive technology.  Upcoming months will feature etiquette, sensitivity and people first language; service animals; disability employment awareness and volunteerism.  Call 573-874-1646 for more information or to register for future Lunch & Learns.

Organizations working in partnership to mark the ADA anniversary include: Alternative Community Training (ACT), Boone County Family Resources (BCFR), Central Missouri Regional Office, City of Columbia, Columbia Disabilities Commission, Columbia Public Schools, Great Plains ADA Center, Job Point, Missouri Department of Health, People First of Boone County, Services for Independent Living (SIL), Thompson Center, Tips4Kids, United Access, University of Missouri Disability Center, University of Missouri Equity Office and Woodhaven.  Five of these private entities are also celebrating milestone as well, with Woodhaven and Job Point both at 50 years, ACT and BCFR at 40 years, and SIL achieving 35 years of service to our community members with disabilities.

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/.  In 2011, Governor Nixon declared October Missouri Disability and Awareness Month.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a civil rights law in 1990, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to ensure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life: Title I – Employment, Title II – State and Local Government, Title III – Public Accommodations, Title IV – Telecommunications, Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions (http://adata.org/learn-about-ada).

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