On a sunny day this week, something special was in the air across America. It was a celebration of equality. On July 26, 1990, George H.W. Bush signed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). On July 26, America was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ADA.
One of those celebrations was right here in Minneapolis at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. Former US Senator David Durenberger read a statement from Governor Tim Pawlenty to commemorate the day. At around 11 am, Nic Zapko, an ASL storyteller, told her life story with her hands and body, with somebody else saying the words. It was entertaining. Afterwards, US Senator Amy Klobuchar made a quick speech. She became interested with the ADA when her daughter needed to be fed with a nose tube because she couldn’t eat by mouth as a baby. Klobuchar walked right by me at one point! At around noon, ADA expert Peter Berg talked about the legal aspects of the law and what they are working on to improve it.
The Courage Blizzards, a power soccer team from Courage Center, demonstrated a game on an outdoor stage during lunch. At one point, comedian Josh Blue played with them. After lunch, Blue did an hour-long comedy skit. He is known for his appearance on NBC’s hit show “Last Comic Standing” where he became famous. Blue has cerebral palsy, but he travels everywhere. His main act is telling jokes about living with cerebral palsy. He was really funny.
At about 2 pm, they tried showing a video of Al Franken talking about the ADA, but it didn’t work. The program ended at around 2:15 pm.
Throughout the ceremony, people gave testimonials on how the ADA has helped them. One woman mentioned how accessible the new Twins ballpark is.
President Barack Obama celebrated the anniversary on Monday by signing an executive order to increase government employment of disabled people. To watch his comments about the anniversary, click here.
Note: MPR asked people to submit their personal stories about the ADA for a feature. That feature was published on July 23 and they actually used some of my story. To read the feature, click here! I’m the sixth story down.
Written by: Michael L. Sack