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LEADERSHIP BRIEFING

JFNA CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF ADA

 

July 26, 2010

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) celebrates the 20th anniversary of the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation that secured civil rights for persons with disabilities.

 

At the same time, Jewish Federations are seeking to engage new challenges concerning ADA legislation, including increasing employment and addressing underemployment of people with disabilities and ensuring full federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

 

In a special ceremony today in the U.S. Capitol Building, Members of Congress and invited guests paid tribute to those responsible for passage of ADA and honored the landmark bill that has greatly helped persons with disabilities realize their potential.

 

Before its passage in 1990, persons with disabilities had few protections in federal law against discrimination in hiring and conditions of employment, and little access to state and local governmental services and programs or to public transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications. 

 

Among the numerous guests at today’s ceremony was William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of JFNA's Washington office.

 

“The ADA forever changed our nation’s perception of persons with disabilities and the opportunities available to them,” said Daroff. “The ADA was the culmination of a long struggle to provide equal opportunities to persons with disabilities and to enable them to participate in and contribute to our nation to the fullest extent."

 

However, "the mandate of the ADA has yet to be fully realized, and there is still much work to be done to ensure that civil rights laws for people with disabilities meet today’s challenges and needs."

 

Jewish Federations are "proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA, and in doing so, recommit to helping to ensure that people with disabilities and our whole nation benefit from its vision," he added.

 

JFNA advocates forcefully on issues of concern to the disability community and remains a leader in providing and ensuring access to services to individuals with disabilities in communities across North America. 

 

More recently, JFNA played a lead role within the faith community in advocating for passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which redefined the term disability to clearly express the physical or mental impairments that may limit an individual from certain activities. 

 

JFNA urged Congress to step in after the Supreme Court in 1999, in Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc. narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be afforded by the ADA, thus eliminating protection for many individuals.

 

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 strengthens the ADA by restoring these protections and legally recognizing the breadth of impairments that are defined as disabilities.



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