"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn't include people with disabilities, and people didn't realize that. So what [the Americans with Disabilities Act] did is put in place specific parameters for what you could and could not do for employment and accommodations, and what type of barriers are or are not acceptable," described Don Dew, executive director for Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland. Until the act was passed in 1990, people with disabilities were not guaranteed access to courthouses, to the public walkways, to a life. This lack of access was highlighted by the Capitol Crawl, a civil rights demonstration that had disabled people pull themselves up the steps to Congress.
Though the ADA has not solved all the issues confronting people with disabilities, it was a major step forward. Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland is celebrating 25 years of the ADA this Saturday at the Sioux City Public Museum. There will be speakers, participatory art works, and food. Doors open at noon.