Today, the 28th anniversary of the ADA, is worth a big celebration.
I recall how amazing it was in 1990 for the ADA to come into being for America, people with disabilities and…DRO! During my first 4 years at DRO, we did not have that law. We had the Rehab Act to enforce rights when there was federal funding, 91-142 (the special ed law), some constitutional theories and a little-used state statute.
During the 1990’s, all the US Supreme Court cases (including one from Oregon) cut back the scope of the ADA. The break-through for equal rights was Olmstead and, in the aughts, passage of the ADAAA (that amended the ADA to overcome the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretations) and the ACA which gave people with disabilities equal access to health care. While many of these rights are under attack or under-enforced in DC and elsewhere, the laws that created them are as comprehensive as ever.
Today is a great time to rededicate ourselves to the laws that are the foundation of disability rights because we understand that they can be torn away. It is also a perfect time to remember that passing laws is awesome but an eternal vigor in enforcing them is essential. That is what DRO does.
And so yay ADA and yay DRO!