We celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law this day in 1990. We honor all who worked to make this possible, and we cherish those who are served and those who serve others. They enrich our world.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act marked a turning point in the acceptance of disabled people within American society,” says Women Deserve Better Contributor and The American Feminist author Tatiana Federoff, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder that severely affects mobility. “While the country — and the world — certainly have a ways to go before all life is respected, the ADA helped us to recognize the dignity of the disabled person and the ways in which we can help our sisters and brothers with disabilities.”
Please read this sobering article about accessibility (or rather, the lack thereof) in America’s largest city, “New York City Is Still a Disaster for the Disabled”:
“Instead of resenting the demands of the disabled as roadblocks, architects can and should treat them as sources of inspiration. They might, for example, sign on to the goals of universal design, which is based on the principle that making a place more practical for some winds up making it more convivial for all.”
“I can vouch for this personally,” adds lifelong Long Island resident and FFL Editor Damian Geminder. “Institutional discrimination against those with physical needs extends outside of the city also. More than two decades after passage of the ADA, my father and I had to carry Tatiana’s wheelchair down the staircase at our Long Island Rail Road station as she negotiated the stairs and banister. To date, our station still has no elevator or downward escalator, and the escalator that is there breaks down for weeks at a time. The Empire State Building was constructed in not even 13 months, but the LIRR can’t maintain a lousy escalator?“
A private-sector institution this inaccessible would have been subjected to a lawsuit years ago. Why aren’t our legislators doing more than paying lip service for the deaf, blind, and those with serious physical challenges?”
ACTION LIST — What you can do to stand up for those who can’t:
-Forward this email.
-Like and share our upcoming memes and stories today through Monday, including this quote by Pearl S. Buck, whose daughter, Carol Grace, who was born with phenylketonuria, which resulted in developmental delays:
-Download and post this ad about aborting those with “gross fetal anomalies.”
-See FFL’s most recent issue of The American Feminist, “Breaking Barriers,” for more answers to the challenges of accessibility, including Tatiana’s story, and innovative technological solutions for the underserved persons in the Deaf community in “Hear the Deaf,” by FFL Speaker Joyce McCauley-Benner.
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster
Feminists for Life of America