Monday, September 20, 2010

Spiderman and the ADA

Spiderman and the ADA

SpidermanIn a Spiderman comic, Stan Lee wrote, “With great power there must also come — great responsibility.” When I think about it, that applies to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) very much. While it is debatable whether the ADA gives people with disabilities “great power,” it really is not debatable that the ADA gives us “great responsibility.”

And that responsibility is not just for ourselves, but for future generations as well. When George H.W. Bush said at the signing of the ADA on July 26th 1990, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down,” the wall started tumbling but without people maintaining constant vigilance that tumbling will stop.

People with disabilities have made some amazing strides in the past 20 years thanks, in no small part, to the ADA. But we can’t afford to forget that the ADA is a law of empowerment and not a law of entitlement! People with disabilities can use the ADA, but they need to know how. So it is our responsibility to younger generations of people with disabilities to make sure they are familiar with the ADA and how to best utilize it.

In this 20th year of the ADA, we can look back on some significant improvements for the civil rights of people with disabilities, but we must not forget that “With great power there must also come — great responsibility” and we must stay vigilant or we risk taking a step backward. So even though Spiderman doesn’t deal with the ADA too much, that awareness he had in Amazing Fantasy #15 really applies.

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor


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