Lex Frieden, a United Spinal Association board member who played an integral role in the development, passage and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, participated in a social justice panel discussion at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, as part of the Civil Rights Summit that took place April 8-10.
Frieden talked about the linkage of the ADA with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, why disability rights are civil rights and how the discrimination faced by people with disabilities is similar to that faced by people of color, women and LGBT individuals. He also emphasized how important community integration is to the over 50 million people with disabilities living in the U.S. today.
“No one should have their ambitions, dreams or opportunities stifled by discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights legislation have established a fundamental framework for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, but we have yet to experience the full impact of those provisions. The dreams and ambitions of many people with disabilities have yet to be realized. Significant disparities in housing, transportation, employment and community living by people with disabilities are evidence of the need for us to continue o