88Nine Radio Milwaukee

25th Anniversary of monumental civil rights law

by Nate Imig


25 years ago, the U.S. Congress signed a law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. The American's with Disabilities Act of 1990 was a game changer for people with mental and physical disabilities in the U.S.


Under this law, employers are no longer allowed to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA set standards for construction of accessible public facilities. Systems were put in place for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech impediments to be able to communicate with others in person or from afar.


Led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the law was signed on July 26th, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. "There were thousands and thousands of people there, many from Wisconsin," says Diana Sullivan, Disability Rights and Access Specialist at Independence First. Sullivan proudly adds that "disability rights are civil rights" and that Wisconsin "will be among a stop this summer for the ADA Legacy Tour." The tour is a traveling exhibit designed to raise awareness and build excitement about ADA25. The exhibit will include a display on the history of the Road to Freedom tour, the ADA quilt and events and workshops given by local hosts. She adds the bus will be driving by former Wisconsin resident, photographer and advocate and photographer


Click the player above to hear more from Diana Sullivan and the changes made since the ADA 25 years ago.