Here’s a week’s worth of little ADA encounters. Some are home runs and others show implementation of the law is still a work in progress, even after 25 years.

  1. I approached two priests I know and got both to agree to say a prayer of petition at Mass: “For individuals and families living with disabilities that they be strengthened for their challenges and for those who work for inclusion and justice for people with disabilities”. Then I emailed a couple listservs of blind Catholics to encourage others to do likewise. Even if I couldn’t seem to get anything going nationally or at the state level about the Catholic church celebrating ADA 25, a couple local parishes will talk about the needs of the 19% for strength and allies.
  2. After 25 years my stove gave up the ghost so I’m the proud owner of a new one. I did get burners instead of a flat top so I know where to put the pans without burning myself. But the only style available has a flat screen for oven controls and no overlay panel with dots for strategic points like bake, start and stop. So I put bump dots (available at hardware stores) on. One of the marker dots on the oven controls already fell off after three days, probably because of the heat. I now have to guess where stop/clear is. Shouldn’t manufacturers be required to provide overlays?
  3. A friend reported on bus and other ADA accommodations at a big outdoor concert here. She said that her needs, including bringing in a chair when others had to stand, were cheerfully met.
  4. I got good customer service from the university’s computer help desk about Outlook not working. They coached effectively when I explained that I used a screen reader instead of freaking out like happened ten years ago. It’s wonderful to be able to use mainstream support instead of having to wait for the ADA person (if there is one) to call you back.
  5. Nike is producing a new shoe you can put on with one hand I read in the news.
  6. At the ADA Anniversary Proclamation at City Council (my short remarks about access improvements in Eau Claire were brilliant. However, the show was stolen by a Leader Dog in training who made a couple very short cogent remarks). An Ally who went to City Council with me had pics Facebooked before the sun set.
  7. The new book by Harper Lee appeared on Bookshare the same day it came out in print.
  8. There was a Dear Abby letter about what wheelchair users should say to rudely curious strangers: http://www.sunherald.com/2015/07/13/6320418/abby-wheelchair-user-has-no-need.html

On the actual anniversary day I plan pizza with friends and a tour of some of the sculptures on our city’s sculpture tour: http://www.sculpturetour.org/tour/. You can’t beat good food, good friends and good fun! Happy ADA 25!

Sen. Tom Harkin Ret. sums it up well: “Twenty-five years ago the passage of the ADA affirmed the foundation of civil rights for people with disabilities. We have been building an accessible society on that foundation for the past two and a half decades. Like any other foundation, it is what is built on top of it that is important in our daily lives. The civil rights ensured by the ADA can only be guaranteed if we are vigilant about protecting them. As we move forward into the next quarter century of the ADA, let’s all pledge to protect those rights in all parts of our lives. Onward!”

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