PRESIDENT CLINTON AND FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON CELEBRATE THE
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington D.C. July 26, 2000
Today, President Clinton, joined by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by taking new action to further the goals of the ADA. These actions include increasing Federal employment opportunities for people with disabilities; ensuring that Federal agencies establish effective procedures for addressing reasonable accommodation requests and that federal programs are free from disability-based discrimination; and reducing the barriers that Social Security beneficiaries face when they return to work. The President also will announce his intention to work with the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework to enact legislation that builds on the success of the Work Incentives Improvement Act by allowing children with disabilities to continue their Medicaid coverage even if their parents have returned to work. Finally, the President will unveil the Access America for People with Disabilities website created to provide quick access to services and other resources for people with disabilities and their families.
Also at the event, the First Lady will announce a series of initiatives to improve and increase opportunities for young people with disabilities to successfully transition to work and achieve independence. Yesterday, Vice President Gore announced a number of initiatives to provide home and community based options for people with disabilities who frequently have no choice but institutionalization. These announcements build on the Clinton-Gore Administration's commitment to advancing the rights of people with disabilities as full participants in all of society and preserving the spirit and intent of the ADA.
For people with disabilities, the ADA is analogous to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It provides the basic foundation of nondiscrimination against people with disabilities in the areas of employment, state and local governments, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990.
The President will be introduced at the event by Justin Dart, Jr. Mr. Dart, a 1998 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, has spent five decades advocating for human rights in the United States and abroad. He has served five gubernatorial, one Congressional and five Presidential appointments in the area of disability policy.
Mr. Dart also will present President Clinton with a replica of the "Spirit of ADA" torch. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the ADA, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is the national host of the "Spirit of ADA Torch Relay" which includes: 1) a "Spirit of ADA" Pledge renewing commitment to the rights of people with disabilities; and 2) a nationwide torch relay from June 11 to August 7. Vice President Gore, Members of the Cabinet and other Administration officials have participated in events at relay sites across the country. The "Spirit of ADA" torch officially arrived in Washington, D.C. yesterday at an event also held at the FDR Memorial.
At the event, the National Anthem will be sung by Beth Gray, a 19-year old vocalist from North Little Rock, Arkansas, who has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. A sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Ms. Gray is on a vocal scholarship and is majoring in Choral Music Education. She is a 2000 Panasonic Young Soloist Award recipient, and has had opportunities to perform at the Kennedy Center and the Russian Embassy. Earlier this year, Beth was crowned Miss West Central Arkansas and recently finished in the top 10 at the Miss Arkansas Pageant.
The President, the First Lady and the program participants will be joined on stage by 10 young people who have diverse disabilities and symbolize the next generation of disability advocates, whose achievement has made possible by the ADA (Please see attached list).
The following Administration officials will be in attendance: Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta, Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober, Office of Personnel Management Director Janice Lachance, Social Security Administration Commissioner Kenneth Apfel, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chairwoman Ida Castro.
The following members of Congress are expected to attend: Sen. James Jeffords; Sen. Ted Kennedy; Sen. Carl Levin; Sen. Arlen Specter; Rep. Benjamin Cardin; Rep. Eliot Engel; Rep Steny Hoyer; Rep. Sander Levin; Rep. Jim McDermott; Rep. Michael McNulty; Rep. Connie Morella; Rep. Major Owens; and Rep. Donald Payne. The following former members of Congress are also expected to attend: Former Sen. Howard Metzenbaum; Former Rep. Lowell Weicker; Former Rep. and Chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Tony Coelho and Former Rep. Steve Bartlett.
The audience of approximately 1,750 people also will include disability advocates, members of the civil rights community and other distinguished guests.
Order of Events: Beth Gray sings the National Anthem First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton makes remarks Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) makes remarks Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) makes remarks Justin Dart makes remarks and presents President Clinton with the ADA Ceremonial torch President Clinton makes remarks and concludes ceremony.