How has the ADA impacted your life regarding travel/mobility, education, employment, or any other aspect?
The ADA was signed into law when I was a senior research fellow in India. Because I had worked in disability advocacy for five years prior to this, I was relieved and thankful to many of the original National Adapt members who participated in protests and the writing of the ADA. I rejoined in volunteer advocacy with both local (Mass) Adapt and National Adapt. In 2013, preparing for and participating in local and National Adapt non-violent actions, I have become far more educated about the urgent needs of my disabled brothers and sisters. I am a blind, 74-year old White woman who grew up in a very supportive upper-middle class family. Consequently, I learned how to advocate for myself to obtain most of my adaptive needs. What I see as the most critical issue is obtaining federal funding for home-based community services, because if this is provided, more individuals with disabilities can live and work from home, rather than be forced through any serious health issue into indefinite nursing home residency, thereby losing all of their independence and citizen rights. During this Covid crisis, the impact falls mainly on our Black and Brown brothers and sisters, many of whom are among the 40% of deaths thus far in the United States. There is a critical bill coming up in the Senate July 20th/21st on home-based community services. Whoever reads this, please look it up and call your people.
What advances in disability rights would you like to see in the next 30 years?
I want to see that in all 50 states, personal care attendants earn a living wage, such that all who need PCAs will have them, regardless of race/gender.