(STL.News) – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, and remains the nation’s preeminent civil rights law for providing access and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas is proud to play a critical role in enforcing the ADA in order to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. Today, on the 30th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush signing the ADA into law, U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox reiterates the Eastern District of Texas’ continued commitment to investigate and litigate significant ADA cases.
“Thirty years ago, President George H.W. Bush invoked our founding fathers when celebrating the passage of the ADA. He stated the ADA ‘brings us closer to that day when no Americans will ever again be deprived of their basic guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox. “Unfortunately, the ADA’s promise has not been fully realized. Individuals with disabilities continue to face unlawful barriers, which prevent them from fully participating in all society has to offer. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas will continue to work to remove these barriers and ensure all individuals are afforded equal opportunity, freedom from discrimination, and the ability to fully participate in society.”
The Civil Rights Enforcement Coordinator for the Eastern District of Texas is Assistant U.S. Attorney Aimee M. Cooper. Currently, her work involves negotiating settlements to require commercial facilities and private entities to remove architectural barriers that prohibit persons with mobility disabilities from gaining access; assisting state and local governments in revising policies and procedures to provide effective communication and appropriate auxiliary aids and services for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind; and ensuring that employers are providing reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants with disabilities.
The promise of the ADA is its wide-ranging efforts to eliminate disability discrimination across the range of services, programs, and activities that most Americans take for granted, but for too long were largely inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. Whether in employment; areas of civic life; or in the day-to-day activities and access to goods and services that we all enjoy—the ADA requires that we take those steps necessary to ensure access for all.
Over the past 30 years, our country has undertaken the hard work of changing attitudes about disability, tearing down barriers to equality, and dismantling the systems that have historically excluded people with disabilities. Today, we commemorate the many ways that the ADA has transformed our society—by replacing exclusion with access, segregation with integration, and limitations with self-determination. The ADA has advanced the promise of the American dream, ensuring that people with disabilities can write their own stories. And as a society, we are better and stronger because of the contributions that people with disabilities make.