Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities

WAYNE, MI – July 15, 2014 - More than two decades ago, people with disabilities were treated as second-class citizens. They were placed in institutions, had no control over their lives and were at the mercy of their caregivers and the state. Fast forward 24 years and these same individuals are living in homes of their own, working, going to school, making decisions about their budgets, who they want to hire as staff and what they’re going to eat for dinner!

Saturday, July 26 marks the 24th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was the first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in the areas of employment, public transportation, public accommodations and telecommunications.

“The ADA still has a few holes and room for change,” said Andre Robinson, a Peer Mentor at Community Living Services, a non-profit that provides supports for people with disabilities. “But it’s the legislation we, as people with disabilities, live our lives by. That’s how we remain active citizens in the United States.”

The Olmstead Act, which is an amendment to the ADA, celebrated its 15th anniversary June 22nd. This is a ruling that requires states to eliminate segregation of people with disabilities and ensure that they receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.

In the words of then president George H. Bush, upon signing the act, “Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” His message was meant to assure quality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

Community Living Services, Inc., is a non-profit organization providing supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Wayne county. CLS is funded through the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency.

For more information contact us at (734) 467-7600 or visit our website at .