ADA 25th Anniversary Newsletter 2015


Happy 25th ADA Anniversary!

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Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: 1990-2015

In This Issue

DRA Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the ADA

Dear DRA Family,

Today, we at DRA join you in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. This important piece of legislation promises an end to discrimination against people with disabilities, who comprise more than 18% of the total US population. While many barriers have been removed in the wake of this law, there is plenty that remains to be done, and DRA remains committed to ensuring the promise of equality is fulfilled.

DRA In The News

This week, coverage of DRA’s work was over the top!

  • DRA’s attorney Haben Girma introduced President Obama at The White House Celebration of the ADA anniversary. See the video here.
    Photo decription: President Obama types a message to Haben Girma, who is deaf and blind, before she introduced him at ADA reception. Photo by Pete Souza.
  • NPR’s Morning Edition commemorated the ADA’s anniversary with a story featuring DRA and its hard-won cases that have changed the landscape for people with disabilities seeking access to transportation, safety, and employment. Read/listen to the story here.

July 21, 2015 Celebration at DRA’s Berkeley Office

We also extend many thanks to everyone who attended the ADA celebration at our Berkeley office this past Tuesday. We introduced DRA’s new Directors of Litigation, Mary-Lee Smith and Stuart Seaborn, who bring a wealth of experience and passion for defending disability rights.

Photo Description: DRA Co-Directors of Litigation, Stuart Seaborn and Mary-Lee Smith, standing and smiling.

Our co-founders Sid Wolinsky and Larry Paradis will remain with us and continue to guide our organization in the years to come.

Photo description: DRA co-founders Sid and Larry. Sid is standing and Larry is seated in his wheelchair with a glass of wine.

For all our friends who joined us in person or in spirit, please enjoy photos from the evening here.

DRA’s Past Accomplishments and Vision For the Future

In the 25 years since the ADA was passed, DRA has successfully challenged and reversed many widespread violations of the ADA, improving the lives of millions of Americans. On behalf of people with disabilities, we have championed:

1) The right to survive: Emergency Preparedness
We know that people with disabilities get hit the hardest in times of disaster, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The current Yale Law Journal prominently features DRA’s national emergency preparedness cases which have transformed protections for people with disabilities in the event of a disaster. Read the article here.

2) The right to thrive: Access to Health Care
We’ve brought multiple cases resulting in sweeping changes to the architecture, policies and practices of some of the nation’s largest health care providers, including Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health.

3) The right to full participation: Access to Transportation
Our right to engage with the communities we live in, whether for work or for pleasure, begins with our ability to move freely from place to place. DRA achieved a landmark settlement in California ensuring that people with disabilities have access to thousands of miles of sidewalks and crosswalks, as well as a historic agreement in New York City ensuring that 50% of the taxi fleet will be wheelchair accessible by the end of 2020.

We are proud of these hard-won changes and remain ambitious for the future. We plan to continue defending:

1) The right to survive: Emergency Preparedness Across the Nation
We aim to leverage our historic emergency preparedness victories to ensure that people with disabilities all across the nation are included in emergency plans.

2) The right to thrive: Juvenile Justice
We aim to leverage our recent victory against Contra Costa County’s juvenile hall to ensure that youth with disabilities receive equal access to the education and rehabilitation they are entitled to by law.

3) The right to full participation: Access to Technology
We aim to ensure that emerging technologies empower, rather than exclude, people with disabilities. Continuing our long-standing tradition of cutting-edge technology access work, DRA will leverage our recent victory against Scribd, a digital library subscription service, to ensure that even more websites and apps will become available to people with disabilities.

We are eager to continue our critical work defending the ADA. Today, we take a moment to savor how far we’ve come, and we look to the future and see that so much more is possible.

Onward to the next 25 years,

Sid, Larry, Mary-Lee and Stuart

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