U.S. Department of Education Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will join advocates, partners, policymakers, youth leaders, and other stakeholders in the disability rights community to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Duncan will discuss the law’s national importance over the past quarter century in establishing and enforcing equal opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in academic and extracurricular activities in educational institutions at all levels. He will highlight the Obama Administration’s strong record of supporting students with disabilities, discuss the work that lies ahead to ensure that all Americans have an equal chance to realize their full potential, and issue a call to renew our nation’s commitment to helping all Americans realize their full potential. Before Duncan speaks, there will be two sessions inside the Department of Education’s Barnard Auditorium focusing on the impact of ADA. The first session includes Andrew Imparato, executive director, Association for University Centers on Disability; Michael Yudin, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education, Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; and Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. The second panel – moderated by Janet LaBreck, commissioner of the Department’s Rehabilitation Services Administration – features youth leaders Casey Followay, six-time national champion in wheelchair racing and archery; Jaggar DeMarco, activist for the National Council on Independent Living; Emily Ladau, founder of Social Justice Media Services and disability rights blogger, Nia Lazarus, activist for the National Association of the Deaf; and Natalia Rivera Morales, coordinator of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s leadership programs.

Following the panel discussions, the outdoor ceremony begins with Duncan providing the keynote address, followed by remarks from Active Policy Solutions Chief Executive Officer Terri Lakowski. Students from around the region will also participate in outdoor activities, including basketball, boccia, and track and field, led by several “Athletics for All” task force organizations such as Disabled Sports USA, Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports USA, American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc., and Bridge II Sports. Exhibit tables will also be set up with information and resources for event attendees.

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