Claudia Gordon Speaks at the ADA25 Georgia Legacy Parade
Good afternoon everyone.
It’s truly an honor to be here with you all.
Thanks to the organizers and sponsors for making this remarkable celebration possible. Thanks to each of you for showing up today.
I also want to thank Ruby Moore and Gillian Grable for reaching out with the invitation. Many emails later, here we are.
Mark Johnson. Tom Olin. What can I say? I love you guys. Without your tireless and selfless sacrifices there would be no ADA legacy tour. Thanks to you and your team for your efforts to honor the work of regional and national organizations, for your work to preserve the history of the disability rights movement and educate future generations of advocates and leaders.
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Friends, we gather together to celebrate a law that truly transformed how our society views, treats and accommodates citizens with disabilities. That law, the landmark disability civil rights known to us and the world as the Americans with Disabilities Act has positively impacted the lives of thousands of Americans living with disabilities, including mine, for the past 25 years.
Let me echo something that my friend and fellow disability rights advocate Mark Johnson said “the Americans with Disabilities Act is an integral part of our nation’s civil rights journey.”
Disability rights are civil rights.
For far too long, our needs, our issues and our concerns were viewed as matters of charity. For too long, society’s primary preoccupation was on fixing us –through medical interventions, therapy and so forth –versus accommodating us; teaching us dependency versus providing us with the tools with which we can become independent and self-sufficient; forcing us into isolation versus integration and inclusion; controlling our freedom of choice versus empowering us make to informed decisions and fostering self -determination.
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