Elected Officials and Disability Rights Advocates Celebrate Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
From left: David Tubiolo, Westchester County Legislator; Chris Johnson, Yonkers City Councilmember; Ken Jenkins, Westchester County Legislator; Corazon Pineda, Yonkers City Councilmember; Assemblymember Gary Pretlow (AD 89); Richard Swierat, Executive Director of The Arc of Westchester; Christian Zabriskie, Branch Manager, Grinton I. Will Library; Mel Tanzman, Executive Director of Westchester Disabled on the Move; Daniel R. Fuster, The Arc of Westchester; Assemblymember Shelley Mayer (AD 90); Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
Yonkers, NY – On Wednesday, July 26th, Assemblymember Shelley B. Mayer (D-Yonkers), in collaboration with Mel Tanzman, Executive Director of Westchester Disabled on the Move, and other elected officials from Yonkers gathered at the Grinton I. Will Library to celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was signed 27 years ago on July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The ADA was signed into law to ensure the civil rights and full participation of people with disabilities. The gathering of elected officials and advocates brought attention to the anniversary and called for a recommitment to the full implementation of the ADA.
Attention was also brought to the national debate regarding the possible weakening of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many individuals with disabilities have benefited from the ACA, particularly the Medicaid expansion, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and subsidies for health care costs. Weakening of the ACA would be catastrophic for individuals with disabilities.
"When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, it made the painful wall of exclusion begin to come down. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are still facing discrimination and exclusion in housing, in the workplace, and public life," said Assemblymember Shelley Mayer (AD-90, Yonkers). "Though the advances for people with disabilities have been great, we need a recommitment to the full implementation of the ADA. I thank Westchester Disabled on the Move and The Arc of Westchester for being champions for the rights of people with disabilities, and I will continue doing all I can to move us in the right direction, and ensure that we will not go backward or lose ground."
"On this 27th anniversary of the ADA, Westchester Disabled On the Move Inc. recognizes the advances of people with disabilities as the result of this historic legislation. Yet we understand and continue to struggle against discrimination and economic injustice that continue to challenge us. We call on our elected representatives to recommit to creating a level playing field where all can participate independently and as equals," said Mel Tanzman, Executive Director of Westchester Disabled on the Move.
"I am proud to join my colleagues in government to celebrate the progress achieved due to the Americans with Disabilities Act. This historic act has provided endless opportunities for those with disabilities and their families. As Mayor, I've been most proud of the work done by the Mayor's Disability Advisory Board. It has been our duty to continue the fight and be advocates for our entire community, regardless of their abilities. Together, let's reaffirm that commitment," said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
"This vital piece of legislation has served a crucial role in combating discrimination against Americans with disabilities and afforded them greater opportunities in the workforce and in our communities," said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "We must remain committed to upholding the law's promise of equality and liberty and build on its successes as we work to ensure every workplace and public space complies with its basic tenets."
"The Americans with Disabilities Act has had a profound impact on the lives of countless Americans living with a disability," said Congressman Eliot Engel. “I was proud to vote in favor of the bill and will continue to work with my colleagues in government, including Assemblymember Mayer, to ensure the law continues to protect the people of New York's 16th District."
"I am happy to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with Westchester Disabled on the Move, The Arc of Westchester, and my colleagues," said Assemblymember Gary Pretlow (AD-89). "While we celebrate this momentous law, it is important that we do all we can to protect the rights of those with disabilities in order for them to navigate and push through any and all obstacles that can impede their right to live a full and productive life."
"The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 27 years ago made the United States the international leader on this human rights issue. Today, this declaration still stands as a model for its content and intent, but there is still much to do to make its intention a full reality for American citizens with disabilities," said Richard Richard Swierat, Executive Director of the Arc of Westchester. "There is a need for society, business, education and our legislative leaders to work together to make sure the talents and human resources available among citizens with disabilities are fully utilized and supported every day in our community. I am honored to continue to dedicate our work to help make its spirit a reality for all our citizens with disabilities."
"The Grinton I Will Library was proud to host this event highlighting the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are committed to serving all of our community and are always looking for new ways to serve them better. Yonkers Public Library is looking at new adaptive technology and expansion of our homebound program to ensure that everyone can benefit from the library in their community. With the renovation happening at the Grinton I Will Branch we look forward to creating a more welcoming and inviting space for everyone in our community," said Christian Zabriskie, Branch Manager, Grinton I. Will Library.
The ADA was passed as a means of granting civil rights protections to people with disabilities in the same way that they are provided to people on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities to access businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.