By Joanna McElnea &Menachem Rephun, Self-advocates + Creative Spirit Staff
An Open Letter To Americans on the 32nd Anniversary Of The Americans With Disabilities Act
Overview Of ADA
For Creative Spirit, the July 26 anniversary of the #AmericansWithDisabilitiesAct (ADA) is our annual opportunity to reflect on the global conversations on equity and inclusion, to see where #disability is trending and not trending, to assess where we want to take action and improve accessibility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Working together, our team of amazing self-advocates and caregivers have compiled a national report card on disability to mark the 32nd anniversary of the ADA.
2022 Trending Disability Topics:
- Accessible Transportation – Part of the ADA involves improving physical accessibility for people with disabilities in the workplace and in public transportation. This year, we were pleased to see that some major cities focused on improving accessibility and making commuting friendlier to individuals’ mobility challenges. As an example, NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced this month it would make all subways fully accessible for people with disabilities as part of its next round of capital improvements. We would like to see businesses go further to make workplaces truly accessible for employees with disabilities, which is an essential aspect of inclusion.
- Employment – Sadly, unemployment for people with disabilities is still a grave concern in 2022. Despite the promises of the ADA, the unemployment rate within the disabilities community is still extremely high relative to people without disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.1% of people with disabilities were employed in 2021, compared with 17.9% in 2020. Conversely. 63.7% of people without disabilities were employed in 2021. Under Title 1 of the ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, or job training. Nevertheless, ableism and discrimination continue to be persistent problems within many companies, driven by myths and fallacies about the . Creative Spirit is determined to ensure fair-wage employment for people with disabilities and to work one-on-one with companies to help them prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
- Hotels in the UK
- DOT Bill Of Rights For PWD
Accessible Design – From Main Street to Wall Street, we’ve collected a plethora of exciting adaptive wear, financial innovation, and furniture that we are proud of.
- American Eagle: AdaptiveWear
- Pottery Barn: Accessible Home Line
- MasterCard Research: Financial Independence for PWD
- Mini Cooper
- Google Tools
Disability Pride Month – 2022: With the annual pride parade in NYC postponed to this fall, we have seen creative celebrations online for Disability Pride Month (DPM):
- National Geographic
- TikTok Accessibility Tools
- Linkedin Dyslexic Thinking Skill
- Twitter Accessibility Tools
- Disability Pride Flag Advancements
- Boulder CO Celebrations
- 988 Hotline
What We Think Should Be Trending:
- LGBTQA and Disability
- Space travel before city travel?
- DOJ Website
- Armina Sterilization of PWD, and here too
Where should we be taking action in 2023?
- Hire Different – 12% of companies prioritizing disability of DEI agendas.
- Disability Disclosure
- 14C Legislation and here
- Internet accessibility
- Abortion Access
- Why isn’t the mainstream talking about Disability Pride Month?
- Cannes Lions Film Festival
- Lack of Accessibility in Major Cities
- How can congress support students with disabilities?
- Women with disabilities in science careers
- Incarnations of PWD
- Police Accessibility
Reflecting on the 32nd anniversary of the ADA, there’s no doubt that this legislation represents an important step toward inclusion for the disabilities community. But it’s still only a first step. As Sandy Ho, Director of the Disability Inclusion Fund, wrote in a “birthday letter to the ADA this month, “the first step in every struggle for civil rights is necessary but hardly enough. It is not enough for the present we live in where 50% of people killed by law enforcement are disabled, people with disabilities are three times as likely as non-disabled people to experience food insecurity, and although people with disabilities have protected rights, our community continues to experience inaccessibility and discrimination in so many areas of life.” At the same time, Ho concludes on a positive note, writing that “We all must lift up those who are doing the bold, courageous, and deep movement-building work to [achieve] the future you helped to imagine, working towards one that is more liberatory, free, and ultimately, joyous.” Creative Spirit is happy to report that we’ve made substantial progress over the past several years, as 98% of the candidates we’ve connected with employment have retained their current roles. We’re also working with companies to help them appreciate the talent, creativity, and expertise of people with disabilities, and why bringing those varied perspectives to the table is a huge net gain for everyone. This is especially important, as our research has found that only 12% of companies have prioritized hiring people with disabilities. By acknowledging the progress that still needs to be made, we can set clear goals for the future and achieve genuine inclusion for the millions of people with disabilities.