BOSTON – Wednesday, July 22, 2015 – The Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities today joined the New England ADA Center, Partners HealthCare and state and local agencies to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“In Boston, we are dedicated to celebrating our diversity,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “As our city continues to grow and prosper, we must ensure that all of our residents have equal access to meaningful opportunities and experiences.”
“Today provides an opportunity to reflect upon all that we have accomplished, but also to reinvigorate us to overcome all of the obstacles that still remain, and to fight to make the promises of the ADA real,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Overcoming those obstacles requires the continuing tenacity and expertise of a wide-range of stakeholders and strong leadership.”
“Although the Commonwealth has made great strides towards broader inclusivity in the last 25 years, it is crucial that we do not lose momentum,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This anniversary is a chance to celebrate progress and remind ourselves to continue fostering a welcoming and accessible environment for all.”
“The ADA has helped to end the segregation, isolation and discrimination faced by so many people with disabilities,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “But there is more that can be done. Today we also commit to breaking down the remaining barriers so that all people are assured the right to be full participants in our democracy, our workforce and our communities.”
The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.
Today’s celebration included a kick-off rally and march to Boston Common, as well as remarks from U.S. Attorney Ortiz, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Attorney General Healey, keynote speaker Dr. Cheri Blauwet, a multi-time Paralympian and two-time Boston Marathon Champion, and poet Lewis Morris. The events also included performances and readings by advocate and author Remon Jourdan, poets Colin Killick and Kythryne Aisling and The Berkshire Hills Music Academy Troupe.
In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities held a poster contest on “What the ADA means to You.” Entries were posted online and voting was open to the public to select a winner and first runner-up. The poster contest winners were announced today by Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. Atara Schimmel, a local amateur artist and disability advocate who works on issues related to chronic pain, took first place in the contest. The runner-up poster was created by Susan Hatch, a resident of The Boston Home in Dorchester. Winning entries were shown today on the Common and will also be on display in City Hall through the month of July.
“We have accomplished a lot in the past 25 years, particularly in removing architectural barriers,” said Commissioner McCosh. “However, we still have a long way to go to achieve true equality. Under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, we are continually improving access and inclusion for people with disabilities in the city.”
Mayor Walsh is committed to creating “One Boston,” where all people are welcome and diversity is celebrated. As part of this goal, the Commission facilitates full and equal participation in all aspects of life by persons with disabilities in the City of Boston, and strives to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal and communication barriers that affect persons with disabilities. The Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Mayor. Monthly meetings held by the Commission are open to the public.
For more information visit http://www.ada25boston.org or http://www.cityofboston.gov/disability .