From The White House: (click for full proclamation)
Since our earliest days, America has measured its progress not only by the growth of our borders and the breadth of our economy, but also by how far we reach toward fully realizing the fundamental rights, protections, and freedoms afforded to each of us by our Nation's founding documents. For generations, many Americans with disabilities lived as second-class citizens who were denied those most basic opportunities. Not content to accept the world as it was, they marched and organized and testified, coupling quiet acts of persistence and perseverance with vocal acts of advocacy. And step by step, progress was won. Protections were put into law. And a wave of change swept across our country, tearing down the barriers that kept persons with disabilities from securing their fullest measure of happiness.
Today, we mark the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) -- a historic piece of civil rights legislation that affirmed Americans with disabilities are Americans first. When many wrongfully doubted that people with disabilities could participate in our society, contribute to our economy, or support their families, the ADA asserted that they could. Under this landmark law, America became the first Nation to comprehensively declare equality for its citizens with disabilities -- an accomplishment that continues to guide our country toward fulfilling its most essential promises not just for some, but for all.