Disability Rights & The Continued Fight

Disability Rights & The Continued Fight

In July 2023, the United States of America celebrated the 33rd Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law after decades of advocacy by disability rights activists and supporters. 

Under the ADA, schools and workplaces are now required to have ramps, elevators, designated parking spots and curb cuts, and to provide accommodations for people with a range of disabilities, including those who are blind or deaf. Historically, the legal provisions of the ADA were inspired by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADA was designed to protect people with disabilities against discrimination and to ensure they can participate fully in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. Congress stated the purpose of the ADA is “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” As of 2023, the ADA is the most comprehensive of the nation’s disability laws. However, despite the advancements of the Disability Rights movement, there are major gaps that need to be filled to maximize inclusion and accessibility for every community, especially people with disabilities. 

Let’s face it, equality in theory does not equate to equality in practice. After over 30 years since the passage of the ADA, Claudia Center, the legal director of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, reports, “disability-related complaints remain the largest category filed with the federal agencies that enforce fair housing and employment laws, and many businesses and institutions remain inaccessible. To date, we have American children with disabilities who are less likely to graduate from high school and far less likely to attend college than their nondisabled peers. People with disabilities are also disciplined more often in educational settings and overrepresented in the criminal justice system, where prisons are rarely set up to accommodate their needs.” The results are even worse for People of Color with disabilities. In signing the ADA, President Bush declared the ADA would ensure people with disabilities, “the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.” The examples listed above clearly demonstrate a lack of disability inclusion from the ADA which was the original national mandate set forth by Congress and the White House. So, what can we do next to rectify the problems that persist for people with disabilities? 

The ADA is a 20th century landmark law which still fails to keep up with the needs and expectations of people with disabilities in the 21st century. The ADA must be amended to address the current problems that exist such as a lack of disability inclusion, especially for People of Color with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic is another example of why amendments are required to better accommodate people with disabilities, such as mandating the expansion of the remote work model starting with positions in government, so people with disabilities can receive equitable opportunities of not just access to employment, but a safer work environment to minimize risk of exposure to infections and other health problems in the COVID-19 era. However, until the U.S. government amends the ADA and other legislation that was intended to protect and enhance the wellbeing of People with Disabilities, it is critical to have organizations such as Dateability, to make the difference in accessibility for all people. 

Dateability is the only dating app for the disabled and chronically ill communities. This app is centered on breaking down barriers for people with disabilities who have been treated with prejudice and harm for too many generations. The important keyword to remember is accessibility. Accessibility is not a perk. Accessibility is a reasonable, necessary expectation that saves lives every day. When Dateability was launched in 2022, this app opened a door for many individuals to find love and connection with people from all walks of life. But, what if Dateability can be more than helping individuals with disabilities find love and human connection? What if Dateability can be the leading hub in the world for advocacy, connectivity and information for People with Disabilities? In February 2004, Facebook started as a social media network for college students to date and connect with other students, and we all know where Facebook is in 2023. Dateability is an extension of the Disability Rights movement because the core principle of the app is accessibility. Dateability can play a pivotal role in eradicating barriers that exist within the ADA and in other areas that continue to harm People with Disabilities. For the past 33 years, the U.S. has come a long way with combating prejudice against people with disabilities, but the prejudices and problems persist. 

Everything begins and ends with accessibility. Dateability is a way to progress for all people.   

A photo of Dan Garcia, a white presenting male with brown hair wearing a suit and tie.

Dan Garcia, MBA, CSM, CSPO

Dan is a Results-Driven, Digital Marketing & Entrepreneurial Strategist in New York. He is a human rights advocate who believes no community is free until every community is free. In his spare time, Dan enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, going to the movies, taking long walks and supporting important causes and community organizations.

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