National News

Americans w/ Disabilities Act marks 20 years

Monday, July 26, 2010

The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush, is being celebrated Monday around the country.

There have been many changes since the act was passed into law such as curb cuts, ramps, wider doors, parking spaces, Braille on elevators and ATM's.

Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh helped push the ADA through, but he says more needs to be done by giving additional economic opportunities to the disabled so they can become more self sufficient and compete on a level playing field.

Parents of kids who represent the second generation of the ADA wholeheartedly agree.

"I think individuals with disabilities, you know, want a hand up, not and hand out," said Eric Cole, whose child is disabled.

"One of our challenges as we move into the next decade is to figure out how we can create more economic opportunities so that more people with disabilities are working, are in the middle class, own their own homes, and are able to participate in the mainstream of the economy," said Andrew Imparato, of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

The Justice Department is making an effort to modernize the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal officials want ideas from the public on how to make the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities.

The department is also looking for ways to make it easier for the disabled to access next generation 911 call centers that allow Internet emergency calls by voice, text or video.

Across the U.S. and Southern California communities are recognizing the 20th anniversary of the passage of ADA.

On Sunday, at Elysian Park there was a Guinness Record attempt of most people in wheelchairs in a single line. There is no word when the officials results will be in.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation that is dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries helped celebrate the event.

L.A.'s Department of Disabilities is holding a celebration Monday in honor of the anniversary. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to attend the event which is being held downtown.

President Barack Obama will hold a special commemorative event Monday evening at the White House.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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