FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City of Springfield is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by proclaiming July 26, 2020 as Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day in Springfield.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was passed on July 26, 1990 to ensure the civil rights of citizens with disabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability, including a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
“The ADA is the most important piece of legislation for people with disabilities,” says Springfield ADA Coordinator Dawne Gardner. “It provides protection from discrimination and requires places of public accommodation to be accessible to people of all abilities. People often don’t think about accessibility unless it directly affects them, but on the other hand, any one of us can become disabled at any point and time throughout our lives.”
The City of Springfield affirms the principals of equality and inclusion for those with disabilities as embodied in the ADA and complies with its requirements and guidelines – continuously making improvements to be more inviting and accessible to people of all abilities.
The City adopted the Public Rights of Way ADA Transition Plan in 2019 which sets forth a plan for continued City-wide accessible infrastructure improvements.
“The ADA and its standards have evolved a lot since 1990. Much of the City’s older infrastructure is not compliant by today’s standard,” explains Gardner. “To eventually address this, we developed an ADA Transition Plan which prioritizes all ADA improvement needs on public rights-of-way.”
The City also engages with advocates by partnering with local non-profit agency empower: abilities to educate, gather feedback and support those with disabilities. empower: abilities’ mission is to remove barriers and empower independent living for all people with disabilities. The agency has been working to carry out that mission through a variety of services and support in the community since 1985.
“The City has an Accessibility Team that meets in conjunction with empower: abilities every other month,” says Gardner. “The backbone of this team are disability advocates. We encourage any citizen to join these meetings to offer comments and suggestions to help continue to move Springfield forward when it comes to accessibility.”
Empower: abilities continues celebrating the ADA’s 30th Anniversary throughout the month of July with its “30 Ways in 30 Days” campaign aimed at inspiring connection and support of the disability movement in the community. Visit Facebook.com/empowerabilities for new ideas posted daily.
“The finale of our ‘30 Ways in 30 Days’ will be a virtual viewing party on July 31st,” says Amy Temple, empower:abilities Marketing and Development Director. “We’ll have special guests, significant to the ADA movement and our local community, wishing the ADA Happy Anniversary and helping to celebrate the progress being made.”
For more information and ADA resources, visit the City’s ADA webpage.
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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected] or empower: abilities Marketing and Development Director Amy Temple at 417-522-9684 or [email protected].