Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ADA

Thirty years ago today, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which has changed millions of lives. Without the ADA, there would be no John's Crazy Socks.

This legislation opened the world to millions of people, giving access to public places, opening education and work places to people with disabilities. At John's Crazy Socks, our colleagues have benefited through inclusion in schools and school activities, access to public transportation, access to work, and the support of job coaches. Prior to the ADA, the idea of an entrepreneur with Down syndrome creating a business to give jobs to others would have been unimaginable. Yet here we are.

And we sill have many miles to go. Federal Law still allows employers to pay people with a disability a sub-minimum wage, people with a disability who marry see their benefits wiped out and the unemployment rate among people with a disability is still over 70 percent. But the ADA set us on a path towards full equality. And we all benefit when we all have equal rights.

And one last note: President Bush, a Republican, worked with a Democratically controlled Congress to write and pass this bill. Look at what we can accomplish when Americans work towards a common goal, when we commit to make the promise of this country real for all Americans.

In the last years of his life, Prescient George H. W. Bush reached out to John and they became sock buddies. John sent the President socks and the President wrote to John about how his business fulfilled the dream of the ADA. Every day, we work to show what people with differing abilities can accomplish when given a chance. We can do so because Representative Tony Coehlo and Senator Lowell Weicker wrote a bill and Resident Bush signed it into law. Look what's possible.