If you’ve been to our office over the past couple of months, you’ve heard the racket.
We’re in a modest two-story building with a courtyard in the middle, which is now a construction zone. It’s a bit of a pain, but the reason for the mess is a good one: an elevator is being installed to make the place more accessible to all.
It’s appropriate that we’re doing this, and the timing is kind of nice, since this week we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA.
I can’t say enough about what this landmark law means to the communities we serve. Signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, and although there’s much work left to be done (witness our elevator project), it has fundamentally changed the landscape for people with vision and hearing loss.
Thanks to the ADA, we have sign-language interpreters at the governor’s COVID-19 press conferences, Braille buttons in elevators, cuts in sidewalk curbs and beeping traffic signals, to name just a few of the efforts to make life easier for those with limitations on their vision, hearing or mobility.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, though. The law didn’t immediately erase discrimination, though: people with impaired vision or hearing still face hurdles in employment, housing and education. Sometimes progress seems maddeningly slow.
But things are getting better, and I like to think that here at LSH, we’re playing a role in this process.