TALLAHASSEE, FL—Hundreds of people marched down Adams Street in Tallahassee this morning to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Barbara Palmer said, “We are thrilled with the great turn out today to recognize this important civil rights legislation. The ADA provides vital access to buildings, jobs, and the entire community for individuals with disabilities. The world is a better place because of the ADA.”
Once the large crowd completed their walk, they gathered in Tallahassee City Hall to hear from a variety of speakers, including nationally known disability advocate John Kemp.
John Kemp said, “The passage of the ADA 25 years ago began a transformation in the way all of us think about people with disabilities and how we can be included in all societal activities. Real, meaningful employment remains our biggest obstacle; once the employer community views us as tremendous assets, we can start buying more goods and services, homes, cars, and generally becoming stronger members of our American economic communities with our paychecks. That day will come, I know, as the best talent in the world resides in our own backyards – Americans with disabilities!”
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said, “We are proud to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act here in the Capital City. This is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that continues to provide a level playing field for all citizens, and ensure lifelong success in the workforce and beyond.”
“In Leon County Government, we know change doesn’t occur in a vacuum,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Mary Ann Lindley. “It requires meaningful community engagement. Every day, Leon County goes beyond listening and engaging and puts ideals into action. In fact, leaders in the disability community help us shape our community for generations to come.”
Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Florida Chester Spellman presented a Champion of Service Award to Tallahassee resident and disability parent and advocate Lou Ogburn. “As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Volunteer Florida is proud to partner with APD to honor Floridians who have volunteered their time to serve those with unique abilities,” said Spellman. “I am proud to recognize Lou Ogburn today with the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award. For 50 years, Lou has been a tireless advocate for Floridians with unique abilities, and we are grateful for her service and her leadership.”
After the program, participants walked to the Capitol Courtyard for music and fun activities. Marchers were treated to a free lunch provided by Outback Steakhouse. There were face painters, balloon artists, and musical groups that performed.
On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the ADA into law. The ADA has made a tremendous impact on American life and culture. The ADA is an important civil rights act designed to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else.
Some of the organizations sponsoring this event were the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Ability 1st, City of Tallahassee, Leon County, Tallahassee Community College, Able Trust, Blind Services, Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, Vocational Rehabilitation, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Family Network on Disabilities, Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living, Florida Disabled Outdoors Association, and many others.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1.866.APD.CARES (1.866.273.2273).