Willie Davis, SLC Consultant
(From Where I See It!)
For most persons who do not have a disability living in the United States, there is equal protection in cases of civil rights, guaranteed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, for persons living with a disability many of their cases take on a more personal discussion in many cases, in pursuing civil rights or fairness in community inclusion.
Not until the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has there been a legal framework of enforcement. However, it is imperative that individuals from all walks of life, understand the ADA, so that the law written to help disabled persons, is not manipulated to fit persons it was not entitled to assist.
The ADA was established and put into law in 1990, to insure that Americans with disabilities receive fair and equitable treatment.
Imagine you are a person who uses a wheelchair, for example. Just think about how your life is affected each day by the inability to be able to get into buildings because of inaccessibility, not being able to find accessible transportation, or being denied for a job opportunity because it was felt that your disability would not allow you to perform the duties. Well, if these situations or others alike, are affecting your life, then the ADA could assist you through enforcement of rights guaranteed to you.
Presently, there is a major discussion nationwide on most Tribal Reservations to review the need to adopt the ADA. The major debate and stumbling block seems to be the sovereignty standpoint. Tribes are also questioning how these changes and community enforcement will affect businesses, federal agencies, schools and society's attitude.
However, many of these agencies are already complying in providing major inclusions to structural changes for accessibility. Through the input from the disability community on tribal resolution to adopt ADA, there is hope for many disabled tribal members. Their voice is being heard.
In conclusion, the majority of Americans take for granted their inalienable rights that are granted to them in the U.S. Constitution. But, for those persons who live with disabilities, it took ADA to allow a fair ground and equal opportunities. Just as the Civil Rights Act and Voting amendment have done for minorities and females.