ADA: 25 Years of Removing Barriers and Empowering People.
Twenty-five years ago, our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities—through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 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.
The ADA 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. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.