“Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act…” is a phrase that holds so much power for so many people. It is a phrase that captures the most personal of triumphs, a beginning of a sentence that can be finished in infinite ways. And yet it remains unfinished, serving as an open invitation for activists to renew their commitment to the fight for disability rights – a fight far from done.
Today, with the 25th anniversary of landmark legislation before us, I celebrate what I have done because of the ADA. I celebrate what I am doing right now, right here, in these moments because of the ADA. I celebrate where my future will take me because of the ADA.
I had the honor to share my experiences and perspectives – past, present, future – at an incredible ADA 25 hosted by the United States Department of Education. It was humbling for me, and empowering. But it was also a reminder of all we must continue to work towards so that by the 50th anniversary of the ADA, we will be having new conversations, marked by achievement of the progress we currently still dream to see.
— Michael Gamel-McCorm (@MgmAUCD) July 25, 2015
Speaking at the Department of Education has added fuel to the fire that (in case you couldn’t tell) already burns within me to devote my life to true change for the disability community. And being surrounded by so many amazing advocates throughout the event, from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the wonderful panelists I spoke with, proves that none of us are ever alone in this fight.
But most importantly, this event has left me dedicated more strongly than ever to my core activism belief: if we want the world to be accessible to people with all disabilities, then we must make ideas, concepts, and the experiences of disability accessible to the world. Through my writing and speaking, this will always be what I aim to do.
I’m so unbelievably lucky and excited to be able to share some more insight into my work and my mission with you, through videos taken by my mom during the ADA event. You can find the playlist below. (The video was taken on an iPhone, so the quality isn’t the best, but the audio comes through loud and clear and I added captions.)
And after watching them, tell me: What have YOU done/are YOU doing/do YOU plan to do because of the ADA?
For more on the event and the speakers, visit Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.