NOD Statement on the 29th Anniversary of the ADA
The National Organization on Disability was in its eighth year when the Americans With Disabilities Act became law in July 1990. The ADA gave new impetus to the disability movement and a fresh public awareness of the critical issue of the employment of people with disabilities. NOD has made that issue our singular focus.
When he signed the ADA into law, President George H.W. Bush delivered a purposeful message to corporate America saying, “You have in your hands the key to the success of this Act, for you can unlock a splendid resource of untapped human potential that, when freed, will enrich us all.”
This is the first time the nation celebrates an ADA anniversary without its original champion, President Bush, who we were proud to call NOD’s Honorary Chairman until his passing last November. We pause to remember and honor his remarkable legacy.
President Bush considers the ADA one of his crowning achievements, yet as he shared with our Chairman Tom Ridge in 2015, the ADA requires employers to give people with disabilities a chance. With few exceptions, U.S. employers are still not hiring larger numbers of people with disabilities than they did in 1990. We have yet to unlock that potential President Bush spoke of when signing the ADA 29 years ago.
At NOD, we envision a future where employers will be rewarded by the high productivity, problem-solving abilities and diversity of thinking that people with disabilities bring to the workforce. On the day we commemorate the ADA, we are reminded of the reason we were created: To see to it that no ability is wasted, and that everyone has a full and equal chance to play a part in our national progress.