My client, the Ruderman Family Foundation, is a leader in promoting greater inclusion of people with disabilities into aspects of society — schools, workplaces, religious life and many other public accommodations. So it was appropriate that Jay Ruderman, the president of the Foundation, and Congressman Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island and a leader in the disability advocacy community, teamed up to publish this piece about the 25th anniversary (on July 26) of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Op-Ed, which I had a hand in crafting, points out that the ADA brought about a revolution for the rights of people with disabilities in this country. In it, Ruderman and Langevin note that the ADA “provided that people with disabilities would no longer have to face discrimination in the workplace and in other accommodations, and it brought about a revolution in the nation’s built environment and telecommunications, providing greater accessibility for all.”
But, it adds, even after 25 years, the U.S. still has a long way to go to achieve full integration of people with disabilities into our schools, our workplaces and our communities.
“The misguided belief that people with disabilities are better off living and spending their days primarily with other people with disabilities, for example, is still far too prevalent across the country,” Ruderman and Langevin say, adding later that “people with disabilities – even those with clear and concrete capabilities – continue to face barriers to full and inclusive employment. Those who do have a job are too often segregated from their colleagues, where their contributions remain underestimated and underutilized. And many employers still lack a fundamental understanding of how to provide adequate accommodations – even simple and inexpensive ones – that increase access and enhance productivity in the workplace.”