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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 4, 1996




As we rapidly approach the 21st century, we are entering an age dominated by information and technology, the microchip and the global marketplace. We can't afford to waste the talents of a single person if we are to succeed in this exciting and challenging new world, and people with disabilities have a major role to play in helping us to achieve a dynamic, productive work force in a united community.

In the darkest days of World War II, the American people looked to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, confined to his wheelchair, for leadership and strength. Today, as college presidents and scientists, world-class athletes and physicians, our citizens with disabilities make their own invaluable contributions to our Nation's strength. From Main Street to Wall Street, they have performed successfully at every level of business and government, demonstrating in large ways and small that they can meet the same challenges as everyone else.

We can be proud of the great progress we have made in eliminating overt discrimination. Leaders of business and industry, veterans service organizations, and labor, as well as community leaders from all walks of life, have worked together to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bans discrimination in recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and advancement.

Yet, 50 years after President Roosevelt's death, too many doors to employment remain closed to individuals with disabilities. We must work to eradicate more subtle forms of discrimination. We must make sure that our words of support for empowerment and inclusion continue to be reflected in our policies. It is up to all of us -- employers, labor, educators, veterans, people with disabilities, and government -- to stay the course until every barrier against individuals with disabilities comes down.

In recognition of the great potential of people with disabilities, and to encourage all Americans to work toward their full participation in our work force, the Congress, by Joint Resolution, approved August 11, 1945, as amended (36 U.S.C. 155), has designated October of each year as "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 1996 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, educators, labor leaders, employers, and the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities that reaffirm 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 fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.


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