25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

By Olivia Huzenis

Tomorrow is the 25thanniversary of the passage of the American with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush. A landmark civil rights bill, the ADA ensured that people with disabilities would no longer have to tolerate discrimination in the workplace and were afforded equal opportunities.

The ADA helped spur a movement to secure the rights of disabled people internationally. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, passed in 2007, represents the culmination of years of advocacy to establish disability rights as universal human rights. Unfortunately the United States hasn’t ratified the treaty.

In 2013, Human Rights First honored former Senator Bob Dole with the Beacon Prize for his instrumental role in passing the ADA, the U.S. ratification of the Convention, and his general advocacy for disability rights. Although well into his nineties, Dole has continued to push for ratification of the U.N. treaty, which would, he says, reaffirm the country’s “common values of equality, access and inclusion for all individuals with disabilities.”

The Beacon Prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization whose work embodies the best in the tradition of American leadership on human rights. Starting with Eleanor Roosevelt’s pivotal role in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Americans—from government officials to private individuals—have nurtured and shaped the global human rights movement, turning the principles enumerated in the Universal Declaration into action. The 2015 Beacon Award will be presented at the upcoming Human Rights First Summit on December 9th.

Check out the video from the award ceremony honoring Senator Dole below.

Human Rights First 2013 Beacon Prize Honoring Bob Dole from Human Rights First on Vimeo.

Human Rights First 2013 Beacon Prize Honoring Bob Dole


Published on July 24, 2015


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