Local organizations celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act

MILWAUKEE — It was on this day in 1990 that former President George HW Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Barbara Beckert is Director of External Advocacy for Disability Rights in Wisconsin.

“We provide a wide range of services to ensure people can live as independently as possible and have the opportunity to claim their rights and contribute to our community,” Beckert said.

In recognition of the special day, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley issued a proclamation declaring Tuesday “Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day.” There was also a special resource fair at the Washington Park Senior Center.

“We talk about fairness, it’s about making sure people have what they need to be healthy and safe in the community and so all people, regardless of ability, should be treated (with) dignity and respect,” said Shakita LaGrant McClain, executive director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services.

The ADA also expanded equal employment opportunity and full inclusion. Heather Swan says it makes her happy to be independent and have her own job.

“I work piecework at Patheon Industries making acetates when people have their eyes dilated and it’s really fun to do that,” she said.

Deloris Sallis is the founder and CEO of Parent University. She was inspired to start her business after adopting a disabled son and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Liberty, was born with cerebral palsy.

“I serve anyone with a disability to make sure they get everything they need to live comfortably in the community and have a great life,” Sallis said.

Tuesday is a great reminder of the bipartisan legislation that changed the face of America.

“I think we should all remember that disability is the most important minority group and any of us can join it at any time,” Beckert said.

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