By Robert Dooling
The Disability Action Group (DAG) partnered with the Office of the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights (SAIDR), the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations, the Office of Civil Rights, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to host an anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), July 27.
The landmark legislation—signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush—codified rights and responsibilities, including the provision of reasonable accommodations, access to buildings, and a prohibition on employment discrimination against Americans with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments.
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma’s remarks at the event highlighted the role the ADA plays in advancing inclusion for millions of Americans with disabilities in all sectors of life. He reiterated Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s beliefs that the Department of State must resemble the American people it represents, that inclusion makes America’s foreign policy stronger, and that the United States should be an example for the world to follow. The event included live captions and American Sign Language interpretation both in person and online.
SAIDR Sara Minkara made a clarion call for worldwide disability inclusion. Attendees enjoyed refreshments, interacted with staff and displays from all four sponsoring offices and DAG, and brainstormed about the future of disability inclusion. Acting Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Conny Mayer closed the event by noting that the Department’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan is a “living document” and should be continuously improved to ensure the Department sets the standard for inclusive workplaces.
Robert Dooling is the public diplomacy detailee in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.