The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 30
July 24, 2020, San Francisco—On July 26, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 30. The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) celebrate this groundbreaking civil rights law which protects people with disabilities from discrimination in all areas of public life.
The ADA became law in 1990, after decades of activism and advocacy. Disability advocates, many in the San Francisco Bay Area, fought for independence and to dismantle institutional, environmental and attitudinal barriers, often alongside allies in the civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ movements.
Thanks to the ADA, people with disabilities have equal employment opportunity, a right that is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations.
Thanks to the ADA, public entities, including publicly funded entities like transit agencies, cannot discriminate against people with disabilities and must ensure their services and programming is accessible. The right to access further extends to privately owned public accommodations, such as hotels, restaurants, health clubs, and day care centers, to name just a few.
Thanks to the ADA’s Title IV, people with speech and hearing disabilities are guaranteed telecommunications access, such as closed captioning and relay services.
The ADA was the culmination of many years of advocacy and hard-fought legal battles. Thirty years later, the work is far from finished.
Today, people with disabilities face many challenges around healthcare and housing. Rapidly evolving technology, which in many instances has made life easier for people with disabilities, also frequently poses new access barriers.
BASF and JDC are steadfast in our commitment to breaking down access barriers and assisting local businesses with ADA compliance. BASF’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service, through its award-winning ADA compliance program, has educated San Francisco merchants about their obligations under the ADA and provided them with resources for assistance with compliance for nearly a decade. To highlight just one other example, JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project prioritizes individuals who have mental health disabilities, helping with federal disability benefit advocacy, eviction defense, and immigration documentation.
BASF and JDC invite you to celebrate the accomplishments of advocacy formalized in the legislation of the ADA. On this historic occasion, we also extend a special invitation to lawyers with disabilities to learn more about and join BASF’s Equality Committee on Disability Rights.
To learn more about joining BASF’s Equality Committee on Disability Rights, contact Diversity Director Samantha Akwei at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.