Tony Coelho on the 28th Anniversary of the ADA

Tony Coelho
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Before joining Congress, Tony Coelho, as a man living with epilepsy, faced discrimination and challenges that robbed him of his dreams of becoming a priest. Fortunately for all of us, Coelho found another pulpit on Capitol Hill. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Coelho dedicated himself to making a change for all people living with disabilities. He became the primary author of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With overwhelming bipartisan support, the ADA was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

On the 28th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA, we are proud to have Tony Coelho serve as a long-term member of the Epilepsy Foundation Board of Directors, where he continues to be a powerful advocate for everyone who lives with epilepsy and for everyone living with all forms of disabilities. Because of him, millions of people’s dreams have a much greater chance of becoming reality. Our thanks to him for granting the Epilepsy Foundation permission to publish this excerpt of his recent statement commemorating the 28th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

By Tony Coelho

“Twenty-eight years ago, Congress passed one of our important civil rights laws improving access to the American Dream for millions of people – the Americans with Disabilities Act. This great accomplishment was made possible through the brave activism of many disabled advocates and a bipartisan agreement among members of Congress.

“Today, on the anniversary of the signing of the ADA, we rightfully take time to celebrate the progress our country has made in the last twenty-eight years toward equality and inclusion for people with disabilities. Congratulations to us all!

“But tomorrow we return to advocate for more. The ADA was an important first stage in a long process toward complete and universal inclusion for all people with disabilities. Thankfully our community has skilled advocates, whose collective voice has recently been seen successfully protecting our rights from those who seek to reverse our progress. ...

“Twenty-eight years ago, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was stalled in Congress, brave disabled protestors ascended the 83 steps of the United States Capitol – some even crawling to get to the top – so they could send a message to their representatives that no American should ever face discrimination based on their disability status. This action broke barriers for the ADA and it was passed. … Happy ADA Anniversary Day!”

Authored by: Tony Coelho on 7/2018

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