Sep 10, 2021
Thirty-one years ago, the fabric of America's legal and policy landscape changed dramatically for people with disabilities in the United States when the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, on July 26, 1990. But, as far we've come these past thirty-plus years, we still have incredibly far to go. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, disabled people in the United States—who make up one in four Americans—were roughly twice as likely to live in poverty and two to three times more likely to be unemployed. Now, as federal policymakers work to "build back better," the United States has the opportunity to take another set of historic steps towards achieving the ADA's promise of equal opportunity, community integration, and participation in American life for people with disabilities—a promise that remains as-yet unfulfilled.
For this special relaunch episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca talks with four of the disabled women leaders who've been making history on the front-lines of the ongoing fight for disability economic justice: Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-7); Judy Heumann, whose historic activism jumpstarted the disability rights movement over forty years ago; Rebecca Cokley, a lifelong disability advocate and program officer at the Ford Foundation, where she heads the first U.S. disability rights program at any major foundation in the country; and Mia Ives-Rublee, the director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress.