Celebrating 30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

I heart ADA
Pin in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Photo courtesy: Smithsonian National Museum of American History (americanhistory.si.edu).

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)! Enacted by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, the ADA draws inspiration from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which outlaws discrimination based on disability). 

The ADA’s Purpose
As one of the country’s broadest pieces of civil rights legislation, the ADA ensures that individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in employment, transportation, public accommodations, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The law protects the civil rights of people who: “have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one more major life activities,” “have a history or record of such an impairment,” or “are perceived by others as having such an impairment.” The ADA does not explicitly mention all of the impairments that it protects but provides broad guidelines for understanding the broad range of conditions that fall under its protections

The DCHRA and the ADA
The District of Columbia has its own law, the D.C Human Rights Act (DCHRA), that makes it illegal in the District to discriminate against people with disabilities in housing, employment, public accommodations, and educational institutions. Like the ADA, the DCHRA defines disability as: “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities” and “includes those with HIV/AIDS.” Both the DCHRA and the ADA align in their fight for inclusion and their promise to guarantee equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

Celebrate the ADA Virtually
Upcoming virtual events related to the ADA:

Report Discrimination
If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, you may report it to OAG by:

The District’s Office of Human Rights (OHR) is the primary District agency that investigates individual complaints of discrimination. You can also file a complaint with OHR by calling (202) 727-4559 or filling out their online complaint form.

OAG protects the civil rights of District residents by bringing lawsuits to challenge discrimination, advocating for legislation to strengthen anti-discrimination laws, and engaging in educational community outreach so that residents know their rights. Learn more about illegal discrimination and how OAG is working to defend your civil rights