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Anniversary of ADA Celebrated
Yonkers Rising - 8/12/2017
Assemblymember Shelley Mayer, in collaboration with Mel Tanzman, executive director of Westchester Disabled on the Move, and other elected officials from Yonkers gathered at the Grinton I. Will Library on July 26 to celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed 27 years ago, July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush.
The ADA was signed into law to ensure the civil rights and full participation of people with disabilities, and the recent gathering of elected officials and advocates brought attention to the anniversary and called for a recommitment to the full implementation of the ADA.
Attention was also brought to the national debate regarding the possible weakening of the Affordable Care Act. Many individuals with disabilities have benefited from the ACA, particularly the Medicaid expansion, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and subsidies for health care costs.
Weakening of the ACA would be catastrophic for individuals with disabilities, said the lawmakers.
"When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, it made the painful wall of exclusion begin to come down," said Mayer. "Unfortunately, people with disabilities are still facing discrimination and exclusion in housing, in the workplace and public life. Although the advances for people with disabilities have been great, we need a recommitment to the full implementation of the ADA. I thank Westchester Disabled on the Move and The Arc of Westchester for being champions for the rights of people with disabilities, and I will continue doing all I can to move us in the right direction, and ensure that we will not go backward or lose ground."
"On this 27th anniversary of the ADA, Westchester Disabled On the Move, Inc., recognizes the advances of people with disabilities as the result of this historic legislation," added Executive Director Mel Tanzman. "Yet we understand and continue to struggle against the discrimination and economic injustice that continue to challenge us. We call on our elected representatives to recommit to creating a level playing field where all can participate independently and as equals."
"I am proud to join my colleagues in government to celebrate the progress achieved due to the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. "This historic act has provided endless opportunities for those with disabilities and their families. As mayor, I've been most proud of the work done by the Mayor's Disability Advisory Board. It has been our duty to continue the fight and be advocates for our entire community, regardless of their abilities. Together, let's reaffirm that commitment."
"This vital piece of legislation has served a crucial role in combating discrimination against Americans with disabilities and afforded them greater opportunities in the workforce and in our communities," added State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "We must remain committed to upholding the law's promise of equality and liberty and build on its successes as we work to ensure every workplace and public space complies with its basic tenets."
The Americans with Disabilities Act has had a profound impact on the lives of countless Americans living with a disability, according to Congressman Eliot Engel. "I was proud to vote in favor of the bill and will continue to work with my colleagues in government, including Assemblymember Mayer, to ensure the law continues to protect the people of New York's16th District," he said.
"The Grinton I Will Library was proud to host this event highlighting the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act," added Branch Manager Christian Zabriskie. "We are committed to serving all of our community and are always looking for new ways to serve them better. Yonkers Public Library is looking at new adaptive technology and expansion of our homebound program to ensure that everyone can benefit from the library in their community. With the renovation happening at the Grinton I. Will Branch, we look forward to creating a more welcoming and inviting space for everyone in our community."
The ADA was passed as a means of granting civil rights protections to people with disabilities in the same way that they are provided to people on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion. The ADA ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities to access businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.