Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary

The last weekend in July is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Across the country, organizations and communities are planning a variety of events and activities to celebrate the passing of the ADA and the progress made in 25 years while also recommitting to the Act’s unfulfilled promises. Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition of the American Associatio...) and the Collaborative on Faith and Disability are working with the ADA Legacy Project to invite individual faith communities and faith networks to join in the national activities both on that weekend and leading up to it to educate, celebrate, and re-commit to the vision of the ADA.

 

Thus, the 25th Anniversary is an opportunity for faith communities of any tradition to: 

  1. Explore ways of initiating inclusive faith supports while also supporting community initiatives that lead to a recommitment to the vision of the ADA. 
  2. Celebrate the growing number of ways that people with disabilities and their families have become full participants in and contributors to the lives of faith communities since 1990, especially in the last 15 years. 
  3. Utilize the 25th Anniversary to strengthen those inclusive faith supports and participation, including the development of new partnerships with advocacy and service organizations in their communities.

 

The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC/AAPD) has written and passed a A Pledge to Recommit to Full Implementation of the ADA and Accessible, Welcoming Faith Communities and challenges all faith communities and networks to do the same.

To help you begin with other activities:

 

  • A variety of resources that can be downloaded and customized for your own tradition or purposes at Faith and Disability.
  • A Facebook page ADA25 and Faith is for sharing ideas, resources, questions, and activities you are planning.
  • A 25th Anniversary Tool Kit is at www.adanniversary.org.  Note the Pledges that can be signed there by individuals and community officials. The Faith Community Pledge will join that list in the near future.
  • Explore the variety of events being planned across the country through the ADA Legacy Project including visits by the ADA Legacy Tour Bus to a large number of communities.

 

We invite faith community members to share this invitation and challenge with their own networks. We also invite people with disabilities, their families and disability organizations to take this invitation to their own congregations and/or other congregations in their own communities.

 

Finally, another goal of the ADA Legacy Project is to celebrate individuals who were or have been key leaders in the passing and implementation of the ADA in law and spirit. With the ADA25 and Faith Initiative, we also are recognizing and celebrating the tireless leadership of Mrs. Ginny Thornburgh. She has worked through two national disability organizations (NOD and AAPD) since before 1990 to encourage congregations of all faith traditions to recognize and support the needs and gifts of people with disabilities and their families.

 

Many doors have been opened in the last 25 years toward full inclusion and participation in both our society and within faith communities. There is still much to be done. The religious community has a unique opportunity to utilize this 25th Anniversary to help that happen in both congregations and communities.

 

You are invited and challenged to do so. Join with us!

 

For more information, visit the websites listed and/or contact Rev. Curtis Ramsey Lucas (curtis.RAMSEY-LUCAS@abhms.org) or Rev. Bill Gaventa, (bill.gaventa@gmail.com

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