American Disabilities Act (ADA) gutted in the HR 620 passage today

Seventeen members of ADAPT have been charged with Disruption of Congress. For many of these folks, this was the second arrest THIS WEEK in defending the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADAPT Community honors their hard work and sacrifice. Watch what happened in the House of Representatives today and reported on NBC in the tape below…

Activists from the disability rights organization ADAPT were a big part of getting the landmark civil rights legislation the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. ADAPT members are in the House Rules Committee Hearing protesting the weakening of ADA protections in HR620, the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR620). HR620 is ill-informed legislation that would require people with disabilities to jump through numerous procedural hoops before they can secure their rights for equal access and full participation in public life, and removes any reason for businesses to proactively comply with the ADA. This bill would be a devastating blow to the ADA.

“Businesses have had over 27 years to come into compliance with the ADA,” said Anita Cameron, an organizer with ADAPT who was at the Capitol Crawl protest in 1990 that led to the ADA’s passage. “The civil and human rights of disabled people are being trampled upon. We demand access to public spaces to live our lives just like everyone else.”

Instead of ensuring that people with disabilities have access, as the ADA requires, HR620 incentivizes businesses to wait until a customer confronts an obstruction and has completed the detailed notification process. Even then, the only action the business is required to make is “substantial progress” in removing the barrier described in the notice. A business could wait years without actually removing barriers and face no penalty. There would be no incentive for a business to learn about ADA compliance and take steps prior to notification.

“One in five Americans have a disability, making Disabled Americans the largest voting minority. We want our rights expanded through legislation like the Disability Integration Act-DIA HR2472/S910, not ripped away with HR 620,” said Laura Halvorson of Virginia who is an organizer with DC Metro ADAPT. “Support for DIA and opposition to HR620 are quickly developing into a litmus test for Congressional candidates; if they won’t use their vote to support us, they won’t get our vote!”

ADAPT has worked for decades to secure and advance the civil rights guaranteed to disabled Americans under the ADA. ADAPT’s history, the issues it is fighting for, and its activities can be found at http://www.adapt.org, the NationalADAPT Facebook page and on Twitter under the hashtags #ADAPTandRESIST, #StopHR620, and #HandsOffMyADA.

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