On July 20th Lakeland’s Mayor Mutz recognized the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a reading of the city’s annual ADA proclamation.
As of today it is estimated that more than 1.5 billion people in the world experience disabilities. In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 60 million people are individuals with disabilities. The ADA recognizes that individuals with disabilities are an integral part of society and must be afforded the same rights and opportunities individuals without disabilities enjoy.
For much of our nation’s history individuals with disabilities had little protection from discrimination in housing, employment or in community participation. Thanks to dedicated people and organizations advocating for the rights of all persons with disabilities, that situation changed in 1990. The United States Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act and President George H.W. Bush signed the legislation to be effective on July 26, 1990. In 2008 the ADA Amendments Act was passed to further the protection of individuals with disabilities.
The City of Lakeland has been committed to enhancing accessibility for many years. This has been part of the city’s ongoing effort to be an inclusive world-class community. Dedicated city employees throughout all departments work for this goal. It would take too long to describe what each person has done on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Some activities include initiating the city’s ADA Transition Plan work to make accessibility improvements, enhancing digital accessibility and communication for the public, accommodating individuals with disabilities in the city’s wide variety of public programs and services and providing new and improved sidewalks, ramps and traffic safety upgrades.
In 2017 the city also created the Lakeland Alliance for Accessibility. The goal of the group is to facilitate citizens, organizations and city staff working together to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities in Lakeland. In addition, the city website has an option that allows the public to submit comments and suggestions regarding accessibility.
For more information, please go to the city’s ADA and Accessibility portion of the city website, http://www.lakelandgov.net/departments/public-works/ada-accessibility/. The city’s ADA Specialist, Jenny Sykes, can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 863.834.8444.
Happy 30th Anniversary to the ADA!