President Obama marked the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which he said resulted from a movement carried out by people who “refused to accept a second-class status in America.”
In remarks at the White House, where he signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Obama said the ADA “began when they not only refused to accept the way the world saw them, but also the way they had seen themselves,” according to UPI.
Obama praised several officials who helped get the ADA enacted, including Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.
Former President George H.W. Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990, gave some praise to Obama on the eve of the act’s anniversary:
“I congratulate President Obama for taking some time today to remember the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is no place in our society for prejudice of any kind, yet it was not that long ago when Americans with disabilities were often not given equal rights and opportunities. Whether the cause was ignorance or indifference, it was not acceptable. We can all take pride in how much the ADA has accomplished, which is evident every time you attend a sporting event, ride the subway, or go to work. Yet, there is always more to be done, which is why it’s good not only to celebrate our successes, but to look forward at what still must be done. As long as we never forget that every life is a miracle and each person has something to contribute, we will finish the job.”