The ADA turns 31

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Happy Birthday to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Then-President George H.W. Bush signed the act into law 31 years ago this summer, on July 26, 1990.

The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees them the same opportunities as everyone else to take part 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.

The ADA is mighty and affects many: According to the U.S. Census, more than 41 million people living in their communities across America have a disability.