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Book Banter & Recommendations > Celebrating 28th Anniversary of ADA

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message 1: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Orlopp (sharonorlopp) | 3 comments Today, July 26, 2018, is the 28th anniversary of the date President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination and guarantees civil rights of people with disabilities. The ADA paves the way for equal opportunity and access and full integration of differently abled people into society and communities.

Why does this matter? According to the 2010 census, there are over 57 million people in the US with a disability. That’s one in five Americans. 19% of our population. With the aging of the population, typically more than 2.2 million Americans join the differently abled ranks every five years.

Many of us either have a disability or have family members, loved ones, and friends who are disabled. Disabilities are non-discriminatory---they occur to people from all backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities, genders, etc.

Reading memoirs from differently abled people helps us experience life from another’s perspective. Some of my favorite books in this genre include:

I Can See Clearly Now by Steve Hanamura. As a blind person, Steve describes walking into the Department of Motor Vehicles and cracking a joke about having a difficult time parking his car. Humor often helps put others at ease.

In An Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff: Bob suffered a major brain injury from an explosive device in Iraq and describes his experience and road to recovery.

Standing Up After Saigon by Thuhang Tran and Sharon Orlopp: Thuhang faced significant challenges due to polio, war, poverty, family separation, and immigration. She crawled on the ground for 17 years before having surgery that enabled her to stand upright with the aid of braces and crutches.

message 2: by jas (new)

jas (silkquake) | 5 comments Thanks for bringing this up, Sharon. I'd like to add a few things.

The general consensus of the disability community is to use 'disabled people/person/etc' over 'differently abled'. Many disability rights activists have discussed this at length but 'differently abled' is often a euphemistic phrase to avoid saying 'disabled'.

Also, while it is super important to read and listen to disabled folks, be aware that disabled folks don't exist for 'inspiration porn'. Their stories are not meant for non-disabled folks to consume to feel better about themselves or for pity. Disability rights activists have been at the forefront of not only disability justice, but also in all areas of social justice, including defending ACA. I am relatively new to the disability community but many disabled folks have taken the time to educate me, either personally or through their writing. In particular, Alice Wong (@SFdirewolf on Twitter) and Lydia Brown (@autistichoya on Twitter) have been instrumental in my understanding of the community (along with a good friend of mine who I won't name). Lydia Brown was a co-editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, an anthology of works entirely by autistic people of colour. Alice Wong is the editor of Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People which comes out on October 15 this year.

It is not enough read works by disabled people but to also fight for accessibility and against the stigma surrounding disability. This means opposing ableism in all its forms. For example, the recent debate about plastic straws has been a contentious issue. There are many disabled people who need plastic straws to drink but straw bans and this growing animosity towards plastic straws will be dangerous. The ongoing conversation on Twitter under the hashtag #SuckItAbleism is a good place to start.

The ADA is huge for disabled folks and is cause for celebration, always. Here in Canada, we do not have any legislation that specifically prevents discrimination of disabled people, other than the Canadian Human Rights Act. However, the Canadian with Disabilities Act is currently in the works. Fellow Canadians, let's keep an eye out for it!

message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Orlopp (sharonorlopp) | 3 comments Jas:
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with me. I greatly appreciate it.


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