A Message from our CEO to Celebrate and Honor National Disability Independence Day
Tuesday is National Disability Independence Day. It commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation. It prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as all Americans in the areas of employment, the purchase of goods and services, and the ability to access and participate in society as well as state and local government programs and services. This “equal opportunity” law set new standards and expectations for us while raising awareness about the many barriers individuals with disabilities face every day. It opened an ongoing dialogue to be better, to raise awareness, improve accessibility, inclusion, and accommodations for all seeking such to fully participate as citizens.
For over three decades, the law has made the disability community more visible and stronger. It has empowered individuals, their families, and allies to speak out about access, accommodation, and opportunity to fully participate in leading full lives at home, at school, in the workplace, and in their communities. Additionally, because of this landmark legislation, the month of July is Disability Pride Month, a special time to honor the diversity, uniqueness, ongoing contributions being made by people with disabilities to make our world a more inclusive and equitable place. It is time for pride in personal and community achievements and for all of us to reflect and say thank you for being a part of our communities.
Despite the extraordinary progress we have made, the fight for equity and inclusion is far from over. Families continue to push for their children to fully participate in school and community amenities. Many adults are still seeking employment opportunities and need corporate partners to be allies. Individuals and their families are looking for the right living arrangement that allows a person to fully participate in their communities with the right support. That is why Birch Family Services continues to fight for the civil rights of the people we support and their families. Our mission – empowering individuals with autism and developmental disabilities to lead fulfilling lives – has always included protecting the rights of the people we support; encouraging them to use their voices; creating access and opportunities to fully participate in their communities; and ensuring there are resources available to meet their needs.
We recognize there is still much work to be done and we remain committed to standing for, and with, the people we support and their families to advocate for their right to lead fulfilling lives.
With respect and admiration,
President & CEO
Birch Family Services