30 years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by the United States Congress. It was a groundbreaking move that secured the rights of all Americans living with disabilities, adults who are part of IOA’s core audience that we serve every day. But did you know that the city of San Francisco was key to making the ADA happen?
Back in 1977, disability rights activists took over and occupied of the San Francisco Federal Building – a move that by directly led to enactment of the ground-breaking Section 504 regulations, considered the first civil rights law protecting people with disabilities and on which the ADA is based. The 1977 event was the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building in U.S. history. There is an award-winning documentary, The Power of 504, that details what happened.
To commemorate this historical moment, San Francisco Mayor London Breed designated July as Disability Pride Month, with a proclamation that states in part: Disability Pride enables people with disabilities to redefine their identity with self-worth, serves as a tool to tackle ableism, bias, and discrimination, and reshapes false negative perceptions of individuals with disabilities as people with value, talents, and significance. On July 26, San Francisco City Hall was lit up in blue to mark and celebrate this important event. You can see a full list of events celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act here.
Institute on Aging is proud that San Francisco was a key part of the history of the Disability Rights Movement and we join all San Franciscans in celebrating this monumental anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.