Commemorating the 20th Anniversary: ADA Day at The New York Public Library
July 26, 1990: President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the South Lawn of the White House. Described as "the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities," this legislation broke new ground, building upon earlier legislation such as the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The New York Public Library acknowledges the 20th anniversary of this landmark law by hosting several events in July 2010.
ADA Day at NYPL—Wednesday, July 7—takes place at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building's South Court auditorium. At 3 p.m., Matthew P. Sapolin, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities kicks off the day's activities by recounting some of the changes the ADA has brought about.
Ruth O'Brien, professor, author and editor, then moderates a panel on the impact of the ADA from a personal point of view, offering analysis of the law to provide a framework for the individual stories.
Panelists Leonard Kriegel, Achim Nowak, and Stephen Kuusisto all contributed essays to the book, Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was edited by Dr. O'Brien.
After a break from 5-6 p.m., an evening of performance begins: film, poetry and dance, finishing up with an opportunity for the audience to interact with all the artists.
Director Roger Ross Williams screens his Academy Award-winning documentary film, Music by Prudence, about a Zimbabwean band composed entirely of singers and musicians with disabilities.
Gary Glazner, founder of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, treats us to some poetry that he normally performs for, and with, people with Alzheimer's disease.
Heidi Latsky, founder and choreographer of The GIMP Project, presents two of GIMP's dancers, Lawrence Carter-Long, in Two Men Walking (music by Sxip Shirey) and a trailer introducing GIMP.
Roger Ross Williams, Gary Glazner, Heidi Latsky, Lawrence Carter-Long and Jeffrey Freeze will assemble on stage to answer questions from the audience.
These events are free of charge; no reservation needed. The auditorium is accessible to people using wheelchairs. ASL interpretation and real-time (CART) captioning will be provided and assistive listening devices will be available.
Additional ADA-related programs will be held at the Mid-Manhattan Library on the rest of the Wednesdays in the month, July 14, 21, and 28.