WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and calling on the Senate to ratify the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
“For a quarter century, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has improved the lives of millions of Americans by opening doors to employment, schools, and public transportation. One of the most ground-breaking civil rights laws in our nation’s history, the ADA has helped bring independence and opportunity to millions.
Today, we honor the heroes who fought so hard for the ADA and reflect upon the innumerable contributions that people with disabilities have made to our nation. As we commemorate this historic legislation, we must also recognize that many barriers to equality persist for people with disabilities, and that many Americans continue to live excluded from public life and opportunity. We still have a long way to go to make the promise of the ADA—a promise of dignity, equality, and inclusion—a reality.
The ADA inspired the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty that seeks to urge that every nation provides people with disabilities the same rights as everyone else to live full, satisfying and productive lives. This Thursday will mark six years since President Obama signed CRPD, but the U.S. Senate has yet to ratify it. On this historic anniversary of the ADA, we urge the Senate to follow the lead of the more than 100 countries that have ratified CRPD, and reaffirm the unalienable rights and freedoms of people with disabilities wherever they may live.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.