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ADA Celebrated as Nation Honors Former President

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), banning discrimination based on disability and requiring certain accommodations in public places. For nearly 30 years many managers have taken necessary steps to ensure their facilities comply with ADA’s accessibility guidelines.

With Bush’s recent death, many Americans remembered his career, and one group that is particularly appreciative of his accomplishment is people with disabilities.

“What President Bush did was to normalize things helping to create opportunities for people in terms of employment, in access to services,” says David person, communications director for Phoenix in Huntsville, Ala. The group’s mission is to assist people, primarily those with disabilities, to improve the quality of their lives. “Of course, what we really saw, especially in major cities, was things like the implementation of ramps for curbs.”

Bush also helped change the conversation around what it means to be a person with a disability in our country, according to WHNT 19.

“What he did was create opportunities,” Person says. “Many of the people who work here at Phoenix are people that would not have jobs and opportunities, and wouldn’t be able to take care of families and live normal lives if it weren’t for what he did.”

Lex Frieden was paralyzed after a car accident and was one of the architects of that legislation, according to NPR. He used a wheelchair as a result and faced discrimination. Frieden says the ADA wasn’t about health; it was about civil rights.

“The ADA was a profound piece of legislation,” Frieden says. “It covered every aspect of social and economic life. It changed the landscape of America. And I attribute that to President Bush, his leadership.”