ADA Anniversary Week at DOJ

adaADA Anniversary Week at DOJ


Twenty-three years ago this week our nation's lawmakers established a comprehensive mandate to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities by passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department of Justice, is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA and opening up the gateways to full participation and opportunity for people with disabilities. Today, the Department of Justice is working towards a future in which all the doors are open to equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for all for persons with disabilities.

In honor of the 23rd anniversary of the ADA, every day this week we will celebrate a different gateway that the ADA is opening up to people with disabilities.

Equal opportunity for those with disabilities is a vision that the department hopes will soon extend beyond our nation's borders. There are over 50 million Americans with disabilities, including 5.5 million veterans living abroad that frequently face barriers when they travel, conduct business, study, live or retire overseas. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities improves protections for persons with disabilities overseas, and allows U.S. accessibility standards to spread through the world. The department continues to play an active role in the quest for U.S. ratification of the Convention to ensure additional gateways open for people with disabilities throughout the world. For more information:

Monday, July 22, 2013: Project Civic Access

Today we highlight the Department’s Project Civic Access, a wide-ranging effort to ensure that counties, cities, towns, and villages comply with the ADA by eliminating physical and communication barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in all aspects of government.  Our blog entry today describes a settlement agreement that the Department reached with the Town of Poestenkill, New York, to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities.   

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013: Gateway to Emerging Technology

Today we highlight the ADA as a Gateway to Emerging Technology.  Our blog post describes a settlement agreement announced today that the Department reached with Louisiana Tech University and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System to increase technological accessibility for students with disabilities.  The blog post also discusses DOJ’s settlement agreement with the Sacramento Public Library to make accessible e-book readers available to patrons with disabilities.  

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013: Gateway to the Community

Today we highlight the ADA as a Gateway to the Community.  Our blog post describes the Division’s efforts to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which recognized that people’s civil rights are violated under the ADA when they are unnecessarily segregated from the rest of society.  The blog post details two of the Division’s Olmstead enforcement matters:  The first is a settlement agreement announced yesterday with the State of New York to ensure that individuals with mental illness residing in New York City’s large institutional adult homes receive integrated, community-based housing; the second matter is a lawsuit that the Division filed this week against the State of Florida challenging the State’s failure to provide integrated services and supports to children with medically complex conditions living in nursing homes.  

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Thursday, July 25, 2013: Gateway to Equal Opportunity

Today we highlight the ADA as a Gateway to Equal Opportunity in the Workplace.  Our blog post describes the Division’s efforts to ensure that applicants and employees with disabilities are treated fairly and enjoy the same opportunities afforded to nondisabled workers.  The blog post details a Title I consent decree reached two weeks ago with Erie County, New York, addressing the County’s refusal to promote a park maintenance worker with monocular vision, and also showcases the Department’s Title II Olmstead enforcement work with respect to integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  

Last month, the Department entered into an Interim Settlement Agreement with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence to address the rights of people with disabilities to receive integrated employment and daytime services in the community, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.  The blog post also references the Department’s recent intervention in a lawsuit in Oregon challenging the State’s failure to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities employment services in the most integrated setting appropriate.

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Friday, July 26, 2013: Gateway to Health Care

Today, the final day of our celebration, we highlight the ADA as a Gateway to Health Care.  Too often people with disabilities face insurmountable obstacles to basic health care, including communication barriers and exclusionary policies.  One year ago, the Civil Rights Division announced the creation of the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative.  The blog post today describes some of the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts under this program to ensure access to health care for individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, have mobility disabilities, or have HIV/AIDS.  We are also pleased to announce today the launch of our redesigned HIV/AIDS web page, which provides helpful information regarding HIV/AIDS discrimination, including settlement agreements that the Department has reached, publications that explain the rights of people with HIV/AIDS under the ADA, and ways to file a discrimination complaint with the Justice Department.

Finally, to commemorate ADA anniversary week, and especially today — the ADA anniversary day, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels has issued a message reaffirming the Division’s commitment to the promise of equal opportunity for people with disabilities.

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