After 30 years of ADA, there is still work to be done, former Sen. Tom Harkin says
July 26 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is a law that aims to protect the rights of the disabled. Although some believe deafness shouldn’t be labeled as a disability, there is no denying that the ADA significantly changed the lives of the deaf and hard of hearing. The act brought greater awareness, accessible telecommunication, and inclusivity around the country.
However, one of the ADA’s creators, former Senator Tom Harkin, says change is still needed. According to Harkin, one of the most needed changes is employment equality. The deaf community, like many other communities covered under the ADA, struggles with higher rates of unemployment. Harkin says greater employer openness and human resource outreach are needed to combat these rates.
While it may have shortcomings, the ADA’s goal to make society more accessible is admirable. Much has changed for the deaf community in the thirty years since the ADA’s signing. Hopefully, we can continue to make improvements for the next thirty to come.
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Edited by Stephanie Stott, staff writer