THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 6, 1993
NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH, 1993
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The United States has long been a champion of the civil rights of individuals, and it is only natural that we now serve in the forefront of efforts to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. Inspired by the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990, other nations have begun to reexamine the challenges faced by their citizens with disabilities. The ADA, which prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, government services, transportation, and communications, provides a practical model for people everywhere to ensure that individuals with disabilities will not be excluded from the social, cultural, and economic mainstream.
Together we have begun shifting disability policy in America from exclusion to inclusion; from dependence to independence; from paternalism to empowerment. And we have made a firm commitment -- a national pledge of civil rights for people with disabilities -- to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. We cannot be satisfied until all citizens with disabilities receive equal treatment under the law, whether in the workplace, in schools, in government, or in the courts. We will not be satisfied as a Nation until we have fully implemented the laws that offer equal opportunity for Americans with disabilities, including the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
We do not have a single person to waste. Citizens with disabilities want to lead full, independent, and productive lives. They want to work; they want to pay their fair share of taxes; they want to be self-supporting citizens. America must enable the 43 million talented Americans with disabilities to contribute by offering them the individualized training and education we offer everyone else.
Our Nation can ill afford to waste this vast and only partially tapped source of knowledge, skills, and talent. In addition to being costly -- over $300 billion is expended annually at the Federal, State, and local levels to financially support potentially independent individuals -- this waste of human ability cannot be reconciled with our tradition of individual dignity, self-reliance, and empowerment. As we work to achieve thorough and harmonious implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we will open the doors of opportunity for millions of people, thereby expanding, not only the ranks of the employed, but also the ranks of consumers. These individuals and their families will thus be able to pursue the real American Dream.
I congratulate the small business and industry leaders, labor leaders, and community leaders from all walks of life who are working together to implement the ADA and the
Rehabilitation Act, and I commit the resources and cooperation of the Federal Government toward that effort. Our ongoing progress attests to the fundamental vitality and openness of our free enterprise system and to our abiding commitment to civil rights for all. Every American needs a chance to contribute. Our work is far from finished. America needs the continued leadership of every citizen to fulfill the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act and related laws.
The Congress, by joint resolution approved August 11, 1945, as amended (36 U.S.C. 155) has called for the designation of October of each year as "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." This month is a special time for all Americans to recognize the tremendous potential of citizens with disabilities and to renew our commitment to full inclusion and equal opportunity for them, as for every citizen.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 1993 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities that affirm our determination to fulfill both the letter and the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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