Skip to main content



Twenty-five Years of ADA

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was the world's first wide-ranging, civil rights law for people with disabilities. It was a collaborative effort of Democrats, Republicans, the legislative and the executive branches, federal and state agencies, and people with and without disabilities. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, signifying America's commitment to full and equal opportunity for all citizens.

The ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else in life - employment opportunities, purchasing goods and services and participation in government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the ADA is an equal opportunity law for people with disabilities.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.

To celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, events will be held across the country. In Minnesota, the Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD) has compiled a list of events on their website. In addition, MSCOD recently partnered with TPT and David Gillette who created a short video called, Celebrate 25 Years of the ADA. The video whiteboard essay highlights the impact of the ADA on the everyday lives of persons with disabilities and the obstacles they face in the workplace.

If you would like to learn even more, the ADA National Network has produced a short video on the Americans with Disabilities Act. It includes information about the great strides the ADA has helped make for people with and without disabilities. If you need help, you can also call the Disability Hub MN at 1-866-333-2466, or visit DB101 for information or to live chat with an expert during business hours.