July 26, 2022 marks the 32nd Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The City of Lakeland recognizes this historical event by issuing an annual proclamation commemorating the date as “Americans with Disabilities Act Day.”
On July 18th Mayor Mutz presented the proclamation to the Lakeland Alliance for Accessibility. The Alliance is made up of individuals who experience disabilities and representatives from agencies that provide services for individuals with disabilities. The Alliance was formed to aid in the City’s goal to become as Accessible as possible, for as many people as possible, regardless of ability.
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all facilities that are open to the public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. experiences disabilities. In addition, it is estimated that by 2029, more than 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65 and will need age-friendly environments. If we add children with disabilities to the statistics, it’s clear that all of us know, or will know, family, friends, neighbors and others who have specific “Access and Functional Needs” (AFN).
As we recognize this year’s anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is rewarding to see the ongoing work the City is doing to improve Accessibility for all. The long-term goal is “Universal Access.”
Universal Access is about planning and designing facilities, products and services to be accessible to the greatest number of people possible, regardless of ability. To assist the City in this goal, we are privileged to have on our Alliance members who have spent their lives, personally and professionally, advocating for individuals with disabilities. We are grateful to have their guidance as we strive for equal access for all.
If you would like to learn more about the Lakeland Alliance for Accessibility and the work the City is doing to improve Accessibility, contact the City’s ADA Specialist, Jenny Sykes at (863) 834-8444 or email@example.com.