30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - After being signed into law 30 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act has had a major impact on people in our area.

“It was passed in 1990, bipartisan, signed into law by president H.W. Bush,” says Eau Claire County Board Member and retired UW- Eau Claire Professor Katherine Schneider.

She says the Americans with Disabilities Act changed the way some people were treated.

“It is a piece of civil rights legislation that basically says you can’t discriminate against people on account of their disabilities in hiring or providing public services,” Schneider says.

Being legally blind, Schneider knows all too well the positive impacts the bill has had on her life, like something you might overlook on an average day.

“Whether you’re a blind person using a guide dog or a blind person using a cane those bumps to tell you where the crosswalk is are very helpful,” she says.

Jason Endres of Eau Claire began to see the impacts of the ADA in 1993 after he graduated from college.

“We were able to get jobs,” he says. “We could go out for a walk and there is a sidewalk and the curb cut everywhere we go and 30 years ago that wasn’t the case.”

But Endres and Schneider both say there is still work to be done...

“We do have a long way to go before we’re fully involved in everything society has to give these days,” Endres says.

“The second wave in the next 30 years will be all about electronic access for example accessible websites,” Schneider says.

The type of work which inspired Schneider to run and serve on the county board.

“A friend of mine who is an old politician says if you’re not at the table, you’re going to be on the menu,” she says.

And Schneider even partnered with UWEC to create a virtual exhibit to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

The exhibit shares a look inside how the ADA has helped make things in the Chippewa Valley more accessible for those with disabilities through local legislation and advocacy.

For more information on that exhibit, click here.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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