By Jane Flower, Youth Outreach Specialist at Guide Dogs for the Blind
Reflecting on the last thirty years, I am encouraged by the many positive changes toward equity and inclusion that have been brought about because of this landmark legislation.
I had just graduated from high school when the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed on July 26, 1990, and was certainly not aware of how this was going to positively impact my own life, as well as the lives of my future colleagues and friends. As the Youth Outreach Specialist here at Guide Dogs for the Blind, I am so grateful to be able to work with blind and visually impaired youth, many of whom are around the same age I was when the ADA passed so many years ago.
While I so appreciate the labor and sacrifices of generations of people in the disability rights movement, we still have a long ways to go, and many of the blind youth I have been fortunate enough to get to know through our Guide Dog summer camp program I believe will be part of the generation that helps push this movement forward. I have so much hope, and the opportunities are up for grabs. The ADA represents a shining example of our ability to come together as fellow humans and make change for the collective good.
Creating a society in which everyone has an opportunity to thrive by acknowledging and removing barriers is crucial to the well-being of everyone, not just those currently living with a disability.
For more information about the ADA and guide dog access laws, please visit our Access and Etiquette page. You can also learn more about Jane's work with youth who are blind or visually impaired on our Youth Programs page.