By Devin Harrington, Communication Specialist
In just under three months, we will officially celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On one hand, it’s hard to believe that 25 years has already passed since the July 26, 1990 signing into law of the ADA. On the other hand, it’s crazy to think that this crucial piece of legislation is only 25 years old…Hammer Residences has been around nearly four times that long! Nonetheless, on Sunday July 26, 2015, we will take time to celebrate how far we have come and reflect on where we should/need to go in the next 25 years.
On a state level, the Minnesota State Council on Disability will be holding an event on the ADA’s actual 25th anniversary at the MN History
Center. The day will be full of activities, entertainment and opportunities for artists to showcase their talents. It is meant for anyone and everyone connected to the disability community and promises to be an inclusive, fun day for all.
At Hammer Residences, we have a few projects in the works to mark this momentous occasion. One such initiative is our “25 Champions of the ADA” video project. Each day in July, leading up to the 26th, we will feature a one minute video of a Hammer employee (DSP to CEO to Program Manager) sharing how/why their role in disability services makes them an advocate of the ADA and its principles. Our goal is to recognize the depth and variety of individuals it takes to help those we serve live their lives to the fullest.
Another project Hammer is rolling out is a public awareness campaign that we are calling “#BeyondDisabilities.” Through the use of social media, we want to inspire individuals with disabilities, their family members and friends, and anyone in the disability services field to share thoughts and stories on what it means to live beyond disabilities. We are using the ADA’s 25th anniversary as a jumping off point, and encourage everyone to start hashtagging #BeyondDisabilities whenever there is something to share. Hopefully, this campaign will continuously generate meaningful conversation.
However you choose to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, remember that without the advocacy of many brave individuals, we would not have anything to celebrate or from which to build. And, without the continued advocacy of courageous people with and without disabilities, we would not be able to continue our work toward true equality and inclusion.