The SLN is excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark legislation, signed into law on July 26, 1990, has impacted our brothers and sisters with disabilities and our families. Here are a couple of examples of ways that siblings have celebrated this occasion:
The Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) group held a Sibs in the City event where the group cheered the Chicago Disability Pride Parade. Leading the parade as the Grand Marshall was Senator Tom Harkin, who is a sibling. Growing up with his older brother, Frank, who was deaf, “was the inspiration for my sponsoring the ADA, and for my lifelong work on disability rights,” wrote Sen. Harkin in a recent blog post. (See the full blog by Harkin here: https://usodep.blogs.govdelivery.com/2015/07/22/onward/) During the Disability Pride Parade, Nora Handler gave Senator Harkin a SIBS pin which he proudly wore.
Katie Arnold, Executive Director of the SLN, attended events at the White House held to mark the silver jubilee of the ADA. On Monday, July 20th, Katie attended the White House Disability Briefings facilitated by Maria Town, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President, provided the welcome and then the leaders of numerous Departments in the administration discussed their work related to disability.
At the ADA 25th Anniversary Reception at The White House, Katie was among about 400 disability leaders and advocates, many whom were instrumental to the passage of the ADA. There were a number of siblings at the event, including Sen. Tom Harkin. President Obama and Vice President Biden welcomed the crowd and the President spoke about the importance of the law and the changes that have been made as a result. To see the full speech of the President, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2015/07/20/president-speaks-25th-anniversary-americans-disabilities-act
The ADA has had many positive impacts on the lives of people with disabilities and their families, but there is still much more work to be done. Community inclusion, competitive employment and full access are just a few of the areas that we as a nation can continue to improve on. The Sibling Leadership Network considers it a privilege to work with the disability community, including self-advocates, to accomplish these goals and more. We honor the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the ADA and commit to continue to advocate for the work still to be done. Join us!