Over 300 people gathered at City Hall Plaza in Boston to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 2011. Public officials and activists joined together in celebrating the milestone passage of one of the nation’s most significant civil rights laws. The City of Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities hosted this event and the Greater New England Chapter served as an event sponsor.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Kristen McCosh, Boston Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities, made opening remarks. The keynote speaker was long time activist Paul Spooner, Executive Director of the MetroWest Center for Independent Living. Other speakers included MS activist Janice Ward; disability activist John Kelly; and the State House ADA Coordinator, Carl Richardson. It was a full program that included a range of talented entertainers.
The Mayor highlighted the significant improvements in Boston to make the roads and sidewalks accessible including:
- A program allocating $15 million to increase pedestrian access to bring curb cuts into ADA compliance.
- Changes to city contracts and approvals to ensure ADA compliance on the construction of streets and sidewalks.
- The establishment of the Boston Commission for Persons with Disability to advise the city on policies concerning the disability community.
- Increasing access at approximately 100 polling places throughout the City
The celebration was well attended by the disability community and organizations. In the twenty one years of the ADA our cities and towns have made significant strides to ensure that people with disabilities are included in all areas of life, but there still remain many issues to be addressed until our country achieves full inclusion for all citizens with disabilities.