When President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) twenty-five years ago, he called for the “shameful wall of exclusion” to come tumbling down. And so it has. Today America is more welcoming of people with disabilities than it was in 1990. And yet much remains to be done to expand opportunities for people with disabilities.
As Lutheran social ministry organizations, we are driven to service by a strong ethos which is grounded in our Christian theology and which shapes and colors the very nature of the services we provide. It distinguishes us in terms of the dignity we ascribe to all human beings as creations of God. It directs our stewardship of resources toward helping others. And it directs our actions in the belief that our service is a vocation used by God to express his love for all humans. Consequently, when issues arise which would appear to diminish the value of the people we support, or which seek to divert support away from them in the interest of economy or other utilitarian purposes, we are convinced that we have an obligation to speak on their behalf.
In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had its genesis in the United Methodist Building where LSA is currently headquartered. When George H.W. Bush took office, he undertook a major effort to write and pass the ADA. A representative was sent from the President's office to the building where a coalition of over 100 different organizations met weekly. It was there that the ADA was written, edited, and perfected.
The LSA-DN Network is sponsoring a worship service in Washington D.C. in partnership with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition.
From Access to Belonging: An Interfaith Service Celebrating the Progress and Promise of the ADA
Sunday July, 26
3pm – 5 pm
First Trinity Lutheran Church
309 E Street NW, Washington DC 20001
Speaking at the Service:
- Dilshad D. Ali, Advisor, Enabled Muslim, and Editor-in-Chief, AltMuslim at Patheos
- Rabbi David Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State, and former Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
- Mark Johnson, Director of Advocacy, Shepherd Center, and Chair, ADA Legacy Project
- Juliette Rizzo, Deputy Director, Special Projects, Partnerships and Events, U.S. Department of Education (Emcee)
Download the ADA25 Interfaith Service Program Book here.
Read this wonderful reflections written by LSA members and self-advocates about the meaning and impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Opportunity Requires Freedom – A Reflection on Why We Celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act by Bill Nolan, Executive Director, KenCrest
The Full Inclusion of All People – Reflections on the ADA 25th Anniversary by Linda Timmons, President & CEO, Mosaic
Self-advocate Reflection on the ADA 25th Anniversary by Abigail Tessman, Bethesda Lutheran Communities
Kate Harding's Story - an ADA Reflection by Carol Slight, VP of Filling Homes
LSA-DN Advocacy at the White House
LSA-DN represented the network at the White House Disability Briefings on Monday, July 20. The briefings discussed work related to disability and inclusion occurring within the White House and other federal agencies. Present at the briefings were Senior Advisor Valerie Jarret and representatives from the Council on Women and Girls, the Department of Labor, the Domestic Policy Council, the General Services Administration’s 18F, the National Council on Disability, the Office of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Presidential Personnel Office.
Join LSA in signing the ADA Proclamation
The ADA is trying to get 25,000 signatures as part of the Nationwide celebration and to show recommitment to the ADA. Sign the proclamation here: http://adaanniversary.org/faithcommunity
If you would like to sign the proclamation as an individual, not as a faith community, you may: Sign the ADA Pledge for Individuals.
Other ways to Participate
Connect with your local ADA center!
The ADA National Network has 10 regional centers around the country. Every state is covered by one of the centers. The centers have agreed to serve as hubs for ADA25 planning in their particular regions. They will host conference calls so that everyone can share ideas, resources, etc. Click here to find out where your regional center is and how to connect with them!
Use the ADA25 logo!
The vibrant ADA25 logo is already in use across the country. Show your connection to the larger ADA25 community. Incorporate the logo into your events and promotional materials.
Learn about the ADA25 slogan!
Disability rights ARE civil rights! That's the slogan for ADA25. But what does that mean? How can you incorporate this slogan into your ADA25 plans? Understand the slogan
Use the ADA25 media kit!
Get the ADA25 logo, slogan, and other resources here: http://www.adalegacy.com/media-kit
Make the most of social media!
Use the following hashtags in your social media posts:
Find great resources!
The ADA National Network also offers an online tool kit full of resources for planning and celebrating the ADA's anniversary. Visit the website to find sample press releases, videos, monthly themes, an e-postcard, and more!
Share your stories and thoughts
How are YOU celebrating ADA25?
For questions, contact Sarah Meek at firstname.lastname@example.org.