Charles from Tennessee

By Benetech, posted on

How has the ADA impacted your life regarding travel/mobility, education, employment, or any other aspect?

The ADA has greatly enhanced my life until I moved to the State of Tennessee. According to ADA Article 1 and 5 Law Enforcement Officers are required to identify themselves when dealing with someone who is blind. In Tennessee Law Enforcement officers refuse to do this. I have been told by State officials that the ADA is a Federal Law and does not apply to State officials. The Ada has greatly helped to improve the living conditions for the blind on Public or private properties but many State officials either don’t know the law or they simply don’t care. I have had state employees refuse to read documents to me and require that I sign documents without knowing what it says. When I refuse to do so the official writes me up and says that I am difficult to deal with. I believe that the State of Tennessee should spend more emphases on it’s agencies in learning the rights that people with disabilities have. Agencies like the Department of Correction, Services for the Blind and Tennessee Business Enterprises should be fined or closed until it can be trained to know and follow the laws that are designed to protect Americans like myself.

Can you share a “before and after” experience; e.g., before the ADA I couldn’t do X or was denied access to Y, and thanks to the ADA I can do Z.

See above. Before the ADA there was the Handicap Act of 1976 which gave people with disabilities rights when dealing with the Federal government but did not improve conditions for millions of people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act enacted in 1990 signed into law by my friend George Bush gave civil rights to Americans or anyone in America with a physical or mental disability. Since this Act has been put into law you see the results everywhere. I once had a friend that worked with me in the Federal Courthouse in Houston Texas that was paralized from the waist down. He had to crawl up three fights of stairs on his hands dragging his wheelchair up behind him every morning. After the law was signed into law the courthouse installed elevators so he never had to crawl up the stairs again.

What advances in disability rights would you like to see in the next 30 years?

That people with mental or physical disabilities could receive immediate healthcare without having to pay large sums of money up front. Also, that government employees that refuse to provide the rights of people with disabilities be fired.

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