Professor Burgdorf in BusinessWeek on the ADA's 20th Anniversary
Thursday, July 29, 2010
UDC Law Professor Robert L. Burgdorf Jr., who wrote the original version of the Americans with Disabilities Act that was introduced in Congress, was quoted in BusinessWeek this week on the 20th anniversary of the Act's passage.
U.S. Beacon of Disability Rights Lags on Jobs
July 25, 2010, 11:02 AM EDT
By Albert R. Hunt
July 26 (Bloomberg) -- This week is the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the country’s landmark civil rights measures and the signature domestic achievement of President George H.W. Bush.
The ADA mandates equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in employment, access to public facilities, transportation and telecommunications.
Although problems persist, particularly in employment, it has transformed America, improved the lives of the 50 million people with disabilities (half of them severely disabled) and served as a model for much of the rest of the world.
"In very fundamental ways, it has changed the basic societal perception and expectations of the role of people with disabilities in America, and of the country’s obligation to make accommodations to enable the fullest practicable participation of this segment of the population,” says Robert Burgdorf Jr., a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who wrote the first draft of the measure.
The gains have been most visible in accessibility, with curb cuts, transportation and access to public facilities. "The ADA has changed the way Americans get around and relate to their communities,” says Andy Imparato, the president of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Citing the landmark 1954 civil rights school desegregation case, Imparato says, "The ADA is our Brown v. Board of Education.” And like Brown, it’s an evolving process that takes years, decades.
Read the rest of the article in BusinessWeek