Celebrating the 32nd Anniversary of the ADA August 1, 2022 – Posted in: Global News
Happy 32nd Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA has changed the lives of people with disabilities and it changed the course of AtWork!. It changed how we support and include people with disabilities and all identities, exemplified the respect we have for the people we serve and our staff, and shaped our vision of true inclusion.
There have been many successes and there is still a long way to go in the fight for equity and justice for all. In our current Book Club Book recommended by John Lemus and the EDIA Council, Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladau, you can find information on the ADA on pages 56 and 57 and throughout the book learn about why there is much more to do. One of the whys: People with disabilities continue to be unemployed at more than double the rate of those without disabilities.
You can read comments about the ADA from our newer board member Steve Ferreira who was interviewed by the ARC of King County.
On the 25th anniversary of the ADA (July 26, 2015), AtWork! ended the archaic and discriminatory practice of paying employees with disabilities subminimum wages. We closed programs that segregated people with disabilities and kept them from being fully included in their communities. We celebrated at a rally in downtown Seattle. We met Ivanova Smith, AtWork!’s first Activist Advocate. Together John Lemus, Advocacy Manager, and Ivanova were leaders in ending subminimum wages in our state just two years ago.
Last week the AbilityOne Commission announced that subminimum wages are no longer allowed on federal contracts. The work of John, Ivanova and so many advocates, the success of AtWork!, and my seat at the Commission table helped make this happen for thousands of people with disabilities still earning pennies on the dollar.
Thank you all for your contributions to the work and to changing people’s lives. For your commitment to the cause and to changing the face of employment far and wide.
Chris Brandt, CEO of AtWork!