For Immediate Release
May 3, 2005
Contact: Luis Miranda
Washington, DC - The Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Gov. Howard Dean, issued the following statement on the effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the endless contributions its passage has provided to individuals with disabilities, their families, friends and society as a whole:
"I commend the National Council on Disability for holding forums on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and am honored as the Chair of the Democratic Party to comment on this landmark legislation.
Since 1990, the ADA has proven itself to be one of the most important civil rights laws in our nation's history, guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities for Americans with disabilities. While the focus was on prohibiting discrimination based on a person's disability, the spirit of the law has been one of independence, empowerment and inclusion.
As many as 43 million Americans today can more effectively pursue the American Dream as a result of the ADA. More Americans with disabilities play a greater role in their communities, enjoy better access to services, and have increased opportunities for employment. With equal opportunity in employment, access to public and private programs, and accessible telecommunication and transportation, Americans with disabilities are now taking advantage of a more level playing field that most of us take for granted. Yet, much more remains to be done.
We in the Democratic Party remain steadfast partners with the disability community in their efforts to fight against the constant threats to weaken and limit the ADA. We will also continue to oppose efforts to cut Social Security disability benefits, such as those in the President's Social Security privatization scheme. Our partners will have our full support and participation in speaking out against conservative judges who are hostile to the spirit and intent of the ADA and we will re-dedicate our energies to ensuring that no person with or without a disability is ever relegated to second class citizenship status.
We must continue to encourage personal empowerment and promote the type of community organizing that raises public awareness, and promotes public policies which close the accessibility gap in America. It's a commitment to a stronger country, and a commitment to sharing the American Dream, and I encourage Democrats everywhere to stay involved."