Twenty five years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Floridians are honoring the anniversary with a celebration in Tallahassee’s City Hall on Friday.
About 300 people are here for the independence march and program. They’re wearing ADA event T-shirts with family members and friends. The bustling party is focused around exhibits for disability services, and guest speakers. There’s also a ceremonial cutting of cake.
The event’s coordinator and spokeswoman for The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Melanie Mowry Etters, says this event is an important way to recognize what the act has done.
“A landmark legislation provided civil rights for individuals with disabilities and so we want to celebrate all that its accomplished and we want to make sure we had a big celebration in the capital city of Florida,” Mowry Etters says.
Local disability coach, J.R. Harding, says the celebration means more than simply remembering a bill signing.
“I am a citizen. It means I’m valued,” Harding says. “It means I have an obligation to contribute and that society embraces me for my abilities and not my disability.”
To commemorate the anniversary, Governor Rick Scott proclaimed July 26, 2015 to be ADA Awareness Day in Florida.