July is Disability Pride Month and the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26 marks the 32nd anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Since its passage in 1990, people with and without disabilities have turned the month of July into Disability Pride Month.  Events, parades and celebrations take place across the country to honor the diversity and achievements of people with disabilities.

And we have a lot to celebrate! Progress made since the ADA was enacted means that people with disabilities have greater access to be able to fully participate in their communities including schools, jobs, transportation, parks, and theaters.  

One of the promises of the ADA was to ensure the “economic self-sufficiency” of people with disabilities. A big part of economic self-sufficiency comes from being able to save and control your own money. The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 made a meaningful step toward helping many people with disabilities save and control their own money in their own ABLE accounts.

But it came up short: Six million people with disabilities – including many who fought for the ADA and the ABLE Act – are not eligible to open ABLE savings accounts because you must have acquired your disability before you turned 26 years old to be able open an account. The ABLE Age Adjustment Act, if passed, will make ABLE accounts available to more people with disabilities and empower them to save and achieve their own goals and dreams.

While there is more to do to fulfill the promise of the ADA, this month, let’s celebrate Disability Pride and the collective and individual achievements that this dynamic and diverse community has made toward breaking down barriers for people with disabilities everywhere.  Together, we can continue to build on the advancements of the past 32 years as we work toward achieving the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Learn more about IL ABLE at illinoisable.com

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