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National Council on Disability Celebrates 31 Years of Americans with Disabilities Act

Monday, July 26, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        

WASHINGTON – In celebration of the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, National Council on Disability Chairman Andrés Gallegos has released the following statement:

“Thirty one years ago today, President George H.W. Bush signed into legislation federal civil rights protections for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act was, is, and will continue to be a federal promise of equal opportunity and full inclusion in all aspects of society for a diverse population of people of all colors, religions, genders, sexual orientations and gender identities, nationalities and walks-of-life, from every corner of this country and our territories. We are a microcosm of the beautiful multicultural, multireligious mosaic that is our country. As a community, we are far better off today because of those civil rights protections than we were 31 years ago. We do, however, have a considerable amount of work to do to fully realize that promise.

“As over 64 million Americans have a disability, the ADA’s impact is profound. For people long marginalized by society, hard fought civil rights protections became a reality that we must continue to fully implement, vigorously enforce and build upon.

“The pandemic has revealed uncomfortable reminders of all the areas of bias, discrimination, and inequities that remain. People with disabilities have disproportionately lost their jobs; have faced incredible healthcare access barriers; and shocking rationing protocols and crisis standards of care that would sacrifice our lives first; and people with disabilities have unnecessarily disproportionately died due in part to entrenched institutional bias.

“Particularly during moments of national hardship – be it economic or physical threat – NCD will continue to approach its longstanding mission and legacy soberly, making recommendations to policymakers that we sincerely hope will help further shape, protect and fulfill completely the promise of the Americans with Disabilities.”

About the National Council on Disability

First established as a small advisory Council within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act, and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since the ADA became law in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting policy solutions, and in advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.

Learn more about the work of the Council at our website


An official website of the National Council on Disability