ADA Legacy Project

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The ADA Legacy Project (TALP) are disability activists who seek to "preserve the history of the disability rights movement; celebrate its milestones; and educate the public and future generations of advocates."[1]

The ADA Legacy Project launched the DisBeat Initiative, "a new communications initiative designed to coordinate and promote proactive messaging on disability rights issues throughout the country."[2]


In August 2012, twenty-five people from across the country assembled for the ADA25 Summit in Atlanta, GA. Sponsored by the Amerigroup Foundation and Shepherd Center, the Summit’s purpose was to connect historical projects on the disability rights movement as well as plan for the 25th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2015.

The ADA Legacy Project coordinated ADA25, "a national celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA25 included hundreds of anniversary events around the country; The ADA Legacy Tour, which logged 23,000 miles and more than 115 stops in 33 states from July 25, 2014 to July 28, 2015; “Equal Access, Equal Opportunity,” the ADA25 official publication; #BecauseoftheADA, a social media campaign to gauge the impact of the ADA on individual lives; the new Disability Rights Museum on Wheels, sponsored by the US Business Leadership Network; fine arts, exhibits, and pride events at the Kennedy Center and Smithsonian's National Museum of American History; two events at the White House; and a gala and march on the Capitol in Washington, DC."


Present at the Launch of the ADA Legacy Project

Attendees included disability rights advocates and cultural workers, disability studies scholars, historians, museum curators, documentary filmmakers, government agency representatives, and others. The Summit produced The ADA Legacy Project.

Obama Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

President Obama celebrates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 20, 2015

The White House "hosted multiple events to honor the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)."[3]

Partial Transcript[4] from event:

So today, we honor those who made the ADA the law of the land -– many of whom are here today. Tom Harkin -- (applause) -- Tom Harkin is in the back there, and Tom delivered speeches in sign language on the Senate floor in favor of this law, in part inspired by his brother, Frank.
Bob Dole is here. (Applause.) A war hero whose combat-related disability informed the way he advocated for all Americans with disabilities.
Tony Coelho -- (applause) -- told he couldn’t become a priest because of his epilepsy, so he became a congressman instead -- (laughter) -- and helped to pass the ADA, so fewer Americans would find the word “no” being an obstacle to their dreams.
In the 1970s, Judy Heumann helped lead the longest sit-in at a federal building in U.S. history, in support of disability rights. (Applause.) Today, she’s at the State Department, advocating for people with disabilities worldwide. She and all the others I mentioned deserve America’s thanks for their tireless efforts. (Applause.)
I want to thank some of the activists who are here -- folks like Ricardo Thornton and Tia Nelis. (Applause.) In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that institutionalizing people with disabilities -- isolating them, keeping them apart from the rest of the community -- is not just wrong, it is illegal. Ricardo and Tia have pushed to make sure that ruling is enforced. And I am proud of what my administration has done to ensure that people with disabilities are treated like the valuable members of the communities that they are. (Applause.)
And I want to thank all the members of Congress and members of my administration who are here today -- including our outstanding Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez -- (applause) -- and the White House’s fantastic new Disability Community Liaison, Maria Town. (Applause.) Yay, Maria!


I’m thinking of folks like Hamza Jaka, who’s here from Wisconsin with his mom. He gloated that he’s a Packers fan -- (laughter) -- and they’ve been beating the Bears a lot lately. But Hamza has cerebral palsy. As he puts it, people always assume his condition must limit him. But the opposite is true. His disability has given him unique experiences, and a sense of purpose that he cherishes. He traveled to Syria to meet other young people with disabilities, and together they created a comic book featuring a Muslim superhero who uses a wheelchair called the “Silver Scorpion.” (Applause.) This fall, he’s starting law school, where he’s going to learn how to be an even more effective advocate.
And then you’ve got somebody like Leah Katz-Hernandez. (Applause.) Leah is one of my favorites. (Laughter.) Her smiling face is one of the first things that people see when they come into the White House. She is the West Wing receptionist. We call her ROTUS –- (laughter) -- I’m POTUS, this is VPOTUS, and that’s ROTUS. (Laughter and applause.)