If you have a disability in the U.S., you’re twice as likely to be poor as someone without a disability. You’re also far more likely to be unemployed. And that gap has widened in the 25 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted.

“Every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom,” President George H.W. Bush said when he signed the bill into law on July 26, 1990.

The ADA banned discrimination based on disability and was intended to ensure equal opportunity in employment — as well as government services and public accommodations, commercial facilities and public transportation.

But it hasn’t always worked that way, especially when it comes to expanding economic opportunity for the 58 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities.

You just have to look at what 27-year-old Emeka Nnaka of Tulsa, Okla., goes through on an average day to understand some of the reasons why.

Six years ago, Nnaka was playing semipro football for the Oklahoma Thunder when he went to make a tackle and broke his neck. He was paralyzed from his chest down. Today, Nnaka gets around in a motorized wheelchair, and has limited use of his hands.

But he still has big dreams. He plans to finish his undergraduate education this summer and start working on a master’s degree in human relations. He wants to become a licensed counselor, and hopes someday to have a home and a family he can support.

Why Disability And Poverty Still Go Hand In Hand 25 Years After Landmark Law

Photos: Kenneth M. Ruggiano for NPR

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. We offer programs like Touch Tours, which allow blind and partially sighted people to touch sculptures from our collection—including original, mostly bronze, works by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, and Rodin. Learn about our continuing tradition of access programs

[An after-hours Art inSight at Night program for individuals who are blind or partially sighted at The Museum of Modern Art. © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Kirsten Schroeder]

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Capitol Crawl.

Disabled people, fighting on behalf of the ADA, climbed the 100+ steps of the US Capitol building on hand and knee to demonstrate inaccessibility.

Please watch this 3 minute clip, and spread the word.


The fight for disability justice goes on, but we have these brave souls to thank for opening so many doors to us (literally.)


When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law 25 years ago today, “everybody was thinking about the iconic person in a wheelchair,” says civil rights lawyer Sid Wolinsky. Or that the ADA — which bans discrimination based on disability — was for someone who is deaf, or blind.

But take a tour of New York City with Wolinsky — and the places he sued there — and you will see how the ADA has helped not just people with those significant disabilities, but also people with minor disabilities, and people with no disability at all.

In Helping Those With Disabilities, ADA Improves Access For All

Top photo: The elevator at the Dyckman Street Subway Station in Inwood, Manhattan, helps people of all abilities reach the platform. Michael Rubenstein for NPR

Bottom photo: When the power went out during Superstorm Sandy, Melba Torres was trapped in her eighth-floor apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for several days without access to a working elevator. Adam Wolffbrandt/NPR

Stop Senate Bill 620- the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

Employers should not be allowed to be exempt from medical privacy laws, the laws against genetic discrimination or the Americans with Disabilities Act in order to force their employees to provide them with private medical information about themselves and their families.  The only way to keep your medical information private is to pay a fine of up to $4000, which means these programs are not voluntary if you can’t afford it. The bill targets poor people.  Are Americans just supposed to trust our employers with sensitive medical information, when this law removes the protections we have against discrimination at work?  This bill is before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions- a committee you are all a part of. I ask that the committee not let this bill pass to the full Senate. I would ask Senator Alexander to withdraw his bill. 

This is a pretty terrifying bill that would allow for workplace wellness programs to be except from the ADA and other laws that protect people from disclosing personal medical information to their employers. Please sign / share and write your representatives.

You can use govtrack.us to find contact information for your representatives and more information about the bill.


25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

President George Bush signs into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on the South Lawn of the White House.
L to R, sitting: Evan Kemp, Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Justin Dart, Chairman, President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. L to R, standing: Rev. Harold Wilke and Swift Parrino, Chairperson, National Council on Disability, 07/26/1990.

Series: George H. W. Bush Presidential Photographs, 1/20/1989 - 1/20/1993. George Bush Presidential Library.

Signed on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities.

More at the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the National Archives

Join the #ADA25 conversation on Twitter with the National Archives, the George Bush Presidential Library, the FDR Presidential Library (fdrlibrary) and more:

#ADA25 Tweets

Educators from the Guggenheim Museum​, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and MoMA discuss accessibility at museums on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

[A “Create Ability” program at The Museum of Modern Art for individuals with learning or developmental disabilities and their families. © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Manuel Molina Martagon]