Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How far we still have to go.

By Allison Donald

Allison Donald
July 26, 1990, I was nine years old.  Mariah Carey’s Vision of Love was number one on the charts, A Different World made me want to attend college, and George Herbert Walker Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I didn’t know it at the time, but each one of these things some more than others would impact who I thought I would become and what I believed I could accomplish.  I loved Mariah, but becoming a star seemed like a lot of work.  I wanted to attend Hillman College I didn’t care if it was a fictitious place where learning and partying seemed endless.  It was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that gave me the keys to the doors that were not accessible to me.

As a person with a disability, I have felt disconnected from the ADA at times.  Before college, I attended one of the only schools that was accessible for children and teens with disabilities.  I got the accommodations I needed to achieve my goals educationally. 

I was shielded from the discrimination that so many students with disabilities encountered.  Twenty-six years later here I stand a product of the fight for equality in all aspects of society for people with disabilities. 

I ask myself how I can repay this debt to those who made the idea of equality possible.  I will continuing to advocate, and speak-up for those who either can’t or won’t.  You can ask your local Congressman or Senator to repeal section 514C of the fair labor standards act of 1938 which allows employers to pay people with disabilities sub-minimum wages.

The funny thing about anniversaries is often times they are reminders of where you have BEEN, where you are NOW, and how far WE STILL have to go.