20th Anniversary of the ADA – Looking Back, Looking Forward

Next Monday, July 26th, marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. With this single document, doors were opened (and widened) and accessibility finally enforced for people with disabilities nationwide.

We’ve come far in these past 20 years, but plenty of obstacles to total accessibility remain. With that in mind, The Braun Corporation recently sponsored a panel discussion entitled, “ADA 20/20: Looking Back, Looking Forward on Mobility” at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. We gathered a diverse panel of key thought leaders from several fields – healthcare, government, mobility, etc – to capture current thinking and vision around future mobility needs for Americans with disabilities.

What followed was a high-powered dialogue about accessibility and mobility – what it means to the disability community and the general population as well. When the ADA was passed 20 years ago, many business leaders predicted conforming to its policies would bankrupt. That’s not been the case. Today we see the value – financially, morally, and ethically – of making sure people with disabilities are part of the larger community.

Today we see the value – financially, morally, and ethically – of making sure people with disabilities are part of the larger community.

While we can’t post four hours worth of discussion from the panel, we’ve provided a link to a summary of the event’s key points. Each day this week, we’ll post a quote from the panel discussion on the BraunAbility Facebook page. Hopefully we’ll spark some conversation among our Facebook friends about ADA 20/20 as well. One of my favorites came from a panel member who quoted one of his favorite bumper stickers: “The ADA…to Boldly Go Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before.”

We haven’t got there yet, but we’re getting closer. As we recognize the passage of this law, lets remember those who paved the way, those who still champion the cause, and those who aren’t able to advocate for themselves.