Celebrate the anniversary of the ADA by taking action!
It's Disability Pride Month, in celebration of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits 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.
What better time than the anniversary of the ADA to commit to creating a more accessible, inclusive world for millions of people with disabilities living in the United States? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Take action to support the Disability Access to Transportation Act! The Disability Access to Transportation Act would create a one-stop paratransit pilot, enforceable standards for public right of way accessibility, improvements to the federal transit administration's complaint-reporting process, a program to incorporate disability accessibility data in transportation planning, and increased funding for Section 5310 programs. Learn more about what the DATA bill would do, and how you can support it.
2. Participate in AFB's Journey Forward study on the short- and long-term effects of COVID on the lives of people who are blind or have low vision—and share this link with other adults who live in the United States and are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on all our lives. It’s important that we document and learn from these lived experiences so we can address both COVID-created and systemic issues impacting the lives of people with disabilities. Data gathered through this survey will be used by AFB and other organizations to advocate for changes to better the lives of those who are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind.
3. Hire blind people. Actively recruit, refer, and recommend blind and low vision candidates for interesting job opportunities and learn more about how to combat ableism in the workplace.
4. Routinely include people with different access methods in your product development and usability testing. Disability is not an edge case. One in four adults has or will experience at least one disability in their lifetimes. If you maintain a website, manage an email newsletter, or develop software of any kind, you are already designing for people with disabilities. Become a champion for inclusive design, and make your websites, apps, and products accessible.
5. Teach disability history. Take advantage of AFB's chronology of key milestones and free lesson plans, based on the accessible Helen Keller Archive. Right now is a great time to teach your children or students what blind and deafblind writers, activists, and leaders have accomplished.
6. Make your social media content accessible. Promote social inclusion by following some simple guidelines and best practices.
7. Encourage someone you know to apply for the Blind Leaders Development Program. It is AFB’s goal over the next several years to see more blind professionals in positions of leadership and professional advancement in their careers, and we are proud to announce that applications are now open for the next Blind Leaders Development Program cohort, dubbed the Centennial Cohort. Learn more about how AFB is helping to build the next generation of blind leaders.
8. View and share our accessible, archived webinars on disability inclusion. We have free resources on creating inclusive remote work environments, mitigating implicit bias, inclusion, intersectionality, and the future of work, women with disabilities in leadership, and more.
Happy anniversary, ADA! Let's keep fighting to strengthen this landmark civil rights act, and make its promise a reality.