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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Happy ADA Anniversary, Advocates! Keep On Leading On! Lead On! Lead On! *

Civil Rights Are Not Special TreatmentPatriots! Comrades! Fighters for freedom from oppression and the chains of perceived normalcy! This week we celebrate the signing of our civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. We hold July 26th as the day in our disability rights history when change was celebrated, and progress toward empowerment of people with disabilities continued to increase through the recognition that we all have an intrinsic right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, hand-in-hand with all other Americans.

As members of the disability community, we have a unique ability, and therefore a unique responsibility, to lead the world toward a culture that empowers every individual to achieve his or her best possible quality of life. We have the responsibility to create a society based on the value that every human life is equally sacred and equally worthy of optimal personalized empowerment. An America for all. A world for all.

However, there are powerful politics of retreat at work that have increased measures of control in the Congress, the public media, and the public consciousness. 

  • They are trying to block universal healthcare.
  • They attempt to limit ADA, IDEA, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the components of basic social responsibility.
  • They passed and continue massive cuts in taxes which favor wealthy people, and render it impossible for the federal government to make the minimum necessary investments in the welfare of all the people.
  • They attempt to limit the democracy of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and Martin Luther King – a democracy with federal authority to protect and empower all citizens. They would take us back toward states rights and domination of the privileged few.

We must become passionate everyday advocates for democracy – in our homes, in our communities, in the media, in our churches and civic organizations, and especially in the election of 2012.

Even as we celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of our civil rights law, associations and lobbyists for the hotel industry are trying to minimize the requirements for access at hotels by introducing bills in Congress that would eliminate their responsibility to provide fixed pool lifts for guests at their facilities across the nation. We know Justin Dart would say: “BULLFEATHERS!” We will not be treated as second class citizens!

Disability rights organizations across the country, led by NCIL, ADAPT, NDRN and AAPD have commenced a boycott of hotels that do not provide fixed lifts at their pools and spas. Now is the time for all advocates to tell the hotel industry: Don’t tread on the ADA!

Use this week to celebrate the 22 years of progress we have made under the ADA, and to once again commit yourself to spreading the message of empowerment for all! Attend a local ADA Celebration. If there is not one in your area create one! If you reach out constantly, repetitively with love and truth, spoken and lived, to everyone in your personal universe, you can be a walking / rolling / talking ad for individualized empowerment that no money could buy. No matter what your favorite role in this movement may be – live it as a change agent! Your truth in action will change the part of society you embody.

Celebrate! Advocate! Keep On Leading On! Lead On! Lead On!

* Portions of this message are comprised of quotes from Justin Dart’s 2002 “Toward a Culture of Individualized Empowerment”


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