Still not equal
As the Vermont Center for Independent Living marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act on Thursday, the civil rights of many Americans are under attack. Women’s rights are being challenged again. Low-income Americans don’t have equal access to health care. New Americans face profiling by police. The hotel industry is lobbying hard to roll back the ADA on swimming pool access.
Now, more than ever, it is imperative that civil rights organizations work shoulder-to-shoulder to beat back the current attacks on our collective civil rights. Social responsibility has many faces. It’s discouraging that today, after all the decades of progress made in the disability rights movement and other social change movements, we need to fight harder than ever in 2012. We need everyone on the front line.
Together with our community partners’ campaigns, VCIL believes the civil rights of people with disabilities will be won, in time. VCIL, arm in arm with its sister and brother organizations, will see everyone’s civil rights honored. We will see the Violence Against Women Act passed, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Congress, health care as a human right achieved in Vermont, and compliance with the ADA met.
VCIL calls on Vermonters to continue to push for access improvements. Complying with the ADA produces a community that works better for everyone. The ADA means curb cuts, ramped entrances and “kneeling” buses. The ADA means equal rights, job accommodations and large-print meeting agendas. The ADA means bigger bathrooms, assistive listening devices at the movies, and eating out at restaurants with family. The ADA means swimming at the public pool. The ADA means diversity and equality in our communities.
The writer is executive director of the Vermont Center for Independent Living.MORE IN Letters
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