AARP today marked the 17th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, saluting the achievements of the disability community and asking the nation to recommit itself to the Act’s ambitious goals.
"The ADA is the core civil rights law for more than 56 million Americans who have disabilities of all kinds," said AARP Chief Operating Officer Tom Nelson. "While disabilities can strike at any age, they become more prevalent as we get older. That is why AARP finds itself working more closely with the disability community every day."
Reflecting AARP’s overlapping agenda with prominent disability groups, the Association has actively participated in a number of events and awards this year:
- The National Organization on Disability’s Accessible America Award. This annual competition identifies communities that have gone over and above the requirements of the law to be welcoming of and accessible to people with disabilities. Past winners have included Berkeley, California; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Phoenix, Arizona. ( www.nod.org )
- The national Road to Freedom bus tour, organized by ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights. The tour is educating communities nationwide about the effort to pass the ADA and the ongoing importance of disability rights. ( www.roadtofreedom.org )
- The National Council on Independent Living’s 25th Anniversary Conference, held in Washington this month and attended by hundreds of advocates supporting alternatives to institutionalized care. ( www.ncil.org )
- The American Association of People with Disabilities annual Leadership Awards gala, a forum for recognizing, empowering, and supporting leaders in the national disability community. ( www.aapd.com )
- The National Disability Rights Network’s "Spotlight on Rights". ( www.ndrn.org )
Disability issues were also front and center at AARP’s first national Diversity Conference, held in Los Angeles in June.
Nelson added: "AARP shares the disability community’s dedication to equal rights, civil rights, independent living and livable communities. In particular, we believe the time has come to begin to advance elements of legislation that further the goals of independent living. The successful advocacy of the disability community has had myriad positive benefits for AARP’s members, and we are proud to be allied with their ongoing work, including the goals of the Community Choice Act."
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.