THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH, 1997
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
America has always been blessed with abundant natural resources; but we sometimes fail to recognize that we have been blessed with rich human resources as well. Millions of people in thousands of professions have built this great country with their labor and made a reality of the American Dream for themselves and their families. But for 20 percent of our population, that dream has too often been deferred or denied. Americans with disabilities have had to overcome barriers in communication, transportation, architecture, and attitude to take their rightful place in our Nation's work force.
If America is to continue to grow and prosper, if we are to lead the challenging global economy of the 21st century, we cannot afford to ignore the talents, energy, and creativity of the 54 million Americans with disabilities. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are making significant progress in eliminating workplace discrimination and ensuring equal job opportunities for people with disabilities. This landmark civil rights legislation, enacted 7 years ago with bipartisan support, has opened doors and brought down barriers across our country for people with disabilities. It has empowered them with the opportunity to become employees, taxpayers, and active participants in the life of their communities.
To build on this progress, government at every level must work in partnership with business, labor, and community organizations to ensure that all Americans, regardless of disability, can live and learn and work alongside their fellow citizens. Only when we guarantee the inclusion, empowerment, and independence of all our people will America fulfill its great promise of freedom and opportunity.
To recognize the full potential of individuals with disabilities and to encourage all Americans to work toward their full integration into the 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 1997 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 achieve the full integration into the work force of people with disabilities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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