Earlier this month, Bill Nolan from KenCrest Centers reflected on the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the people our network serves and the work of disability ministry. Today, we are honored to share a reflection from Linda Timmons, the President and CEO of Mosaic, an organization based in Omaha, Nebraska that provides a life of possibilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, supporting and empowering them in pursuit of their goals. Mosaic, a member of LSA, is an active member of the LSA Disability Network (LSA-DN). This post originally appeared on the Mosaic website on July 23, 2015.
ADA Marks 25th Anniversary:
A Message from Mosaic's President & CEO
Sunday, July 26 will mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA was a monumental step to promote full inclusion for people with disabilities. We know that people with disabilities have the same hopes and dreams as others across this great nation. The ADA affirmed the rights of accessibility and workplace accommodation without discrimination.
I have often said that the disability rights movement is akin to the civil rights movement. In fact, the ADA was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The notion of equal opportunity for people with disabilities seems natural and right to those of us who are engaged in the ministry of Mosaic because connection and respect are two of our core values. But for the general public, the passage of the ADA was sometimes viewed as a radical idea.
Mosaic believes in the full inclusion of all people. As part of our little "a" and big "A" advocacy, we bring this issue to the forefront in both big and small ways. The ADA provides protection for people in terms of employment, participation in certain government programs and assures access to things like housing and public spaces.
Curb cuts, grab bars, and wheelchair accessible public transportation help to open doors to a full life in the community. On a symbolic level, they are a good reminder that everyone has the right to participate without added barriers.
The truth is, many of us benefit from changes that promote full inclusion. Parents of young children are grateful for the accessible sidewalks and larger bathroom stalls. Aging baby boomers appreciate ramps instead of steps. If you travel in Europe, you quickly realize how much these adaptations make the environments easier for all of us to access.
Initially many of the changes brought by the ADA were thought to be radical but have now become part of our everyday life. We can only wonder why we didn’t think of them sooner.
President and CEO, Mosaic