The Americans with Disabilities Act was- and is- a revolutionary piece of legislation. It has impacted my life and the lives of others since its inception. I barely remember what life was like before the ADA, which was signed the year I turned eight.
I recently had the opportunity to watch Crip Camp, and it brought back so many memories. You see, I went to school for students with disabilities, and it was our own little Utopia. Don’t get me wrong. Kids are Kids, but there was never any bullying based on the fact that anyone had a disability; that was just a given.
The ADA made me realize that the outside world (at least in the United States) had the legal obligation to treat me as they would anyone else and that I had the right to demand fair access from the public.
When my son was born, I was not as informed as I should have been. Medical professionals who were supposed to be in my corner intimidated me by making me doubt my abilities. They questioned whether my disability would lessen my maternal aptitude. I fought back. I shouldn’t have had to prove anything to anyone, but I continue to do so because of that undeniable fact that disability rights matter.
Information will always empower. It will always challenge the norm. As parents with disabilities, I believe it’s our sacred duty not only to raise awareness but also to keep informed. We have to raise our hands together as Americans who have a voice. We have to be heard for the sake of generations that will follow. I know that there is still a long way to go, but if we rise to meet the challenge of inequity, we can keep making great strides toward the equitable treatment of all. I hope that my son will continue to take a stand and advocate for the rights of others. That is, after all, what the Americans with Disabilities Act is all about.