Editor’s Note: Last week, disability communities across the nation celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark achievement in the history of disability civil rights.
There is no question that bias against people with disabilities still exists. This includes assumptions about what people with disabilities are capable of achieving. That bias often results in barriers for people with disabilities. Increased visibility and education are needed to raise awareness and exposure about disability, including the fact that so many Americans have a disability, and that disability is visible and invisible
To punctuate the anniversary, we’re highlighting news and ADA updates that support millions of people with disabilities nationwide.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the launch of the All Stations Accessibility Program(ASAP), which releases $1.75 billion in funds over the next five years to retrofit subway systems across the country. The program provides $350 million in funding each year to make public transit systems more accessible. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and fellow disability transportation advocates helped push the initiative through Congress.
- Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago continues to work to advance accessibility on Amtrak. In January of 2020, after a loophole uncovering outrageous pricing for accessible Amtrak seats was identified, Senator Tammy Duckworth fought to ensure that a disability advocate could serve on the Amtrak governing board. Retired Executive Director of the U.S. Access Board, David Capozzi, has been nominated by President Bidento the Amtrak board and is awaiting confirmation. And, last month the Federal Railroad Administration directed Amtrak to establish and make public a policy and process for removing seats to accommodate large groups of passengers traveling in wheelchairs.
- New guidance released from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) helps public elementary and secondary schools fulfill their responsibilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities and avoid the discriminatory use of student discipline. It includes specific provisions to address situations in which the behavior of a child with a disability impedes the child’s learning, the learning of others, or violates a school’s code of student conduct. To learn more about these policies see: Questions and Answers Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA’s) Discipline Provisions
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) issued an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights It states, an airline, including its employees and contractors, may not discriminate against an individual with a disability because of his or her disability. This Bill of Rights describes the fundamental rights of air travelers with disabilities under the Air Carrier Access Act. to download the latest version of the Bill of Rights.
- FacingDisability.com blogger, Ben Mattlin, reacts to the new “Bill of Rights” in the post below: