James Weisman, President & CEO
United Spinal Association

ADA Signing Audience

Part of the audience at the ADA signing, July 26, 1990.

28 years ago, on July 26th, 1990, I sat in a crowd on the White House lawn that included what appeared to be thousands of people with disabilities and watched President George H.W. Bush sign the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law.

As some of you know, I was involved in the drafting of and lobbying for the passage of the ADA. Those of you who work on legislation will know that when I say that the bill passed in just 22 months, start to finish, it was a huge achievement. I was part of something historic and witnessed people with disabilities work together in an exquisite effort to open congressional eyes and get them to acknowledge the needs and rights of the most marginalized minority group in the world.

I have to admit that 28 years later, I thought things would be better for people with disabilities than they are, but I also have to acknowledge the progress of our movement.