Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Event to mark 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

WEST HAVEN >> Disability rights are civil rights, and the Americans with Disabilities Rights Act allows people with disabilities to participate in all of society.

The 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be the focus of a celebration starting at 5 p.m. Thursday (July 23) at Savin Rock Conference Center.

The event is sponsored by the Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition of Connecticut (ADACC).

The ADA was signed into law in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush.

The landmark legislation prohibits discrimination against the disabled and affords them the same opportunities available to those who are not living with a disability.

Mayor Edward M. OBrien will read a proclamation and participate in a flag-raising ceremony at 6:30 p.m. outside the conference center, 6 Rock St.

OBrien said, One in five people in the United States has disabilities and that number is constantly increasing from age, accidents, or even combat.

As a result, the Americans with Disabilities Act is ever more important. It was passed almost unanimously by Congress and signed by President George 

H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. Today marks 25 years commemorating the rights established for disabled individuals providing them with everything from transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment and information technology. It pleases me to see that such an effective act is still in existence today.

Marc Anthony Gallucci, executive director, Center for Disability Rights, also will speak at the event. He said, This 25th anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate the positive impact that the Americans with Disabilities Act has had in the lives of millions of persons with disabilities.

Keri McLaughlin, program manager, Community Connections, part of the nonprofit West Haven Community House, said the ADA has been a tremendous helpto her clients in getting a job and maintaining it.

She said after ADA was enacted society has shown more tolerance and acceptanceof those with disabilities.

The West Haven Community House website says the organization exists to facilitate healthy, productive, independent, and meaningful lives for children, adolescents and families, and individuals with disabilities.

Thursdays festivities will include an interactive educational exhibit about the ADA, and members of the public will get a chance to try out an adaptive, recumbent bicycle, Gallucci said.

An acoustic duo will entertain from 5-7 p.m., followed by a rock band performing from 7-8 p.m., he said.

There will be balloons for children and Gallucci said the public is invited to celebrate and enjoy anniversary cake with CDR staff and members and event collaborators.

In addition to CDR the following collaborators are working to make the event a success: West Haven Community Houses Community Connections, City of West Haven, City of Milford & Concerned Citizens for People with Disabilities, Inc., Agency on Aging, and Bodies Place of Milford.

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