National Disability Employment Awareness Month: A Personal Perspective
At a Glance
Everyone has a different idea of what having a disability means, and it’s no wonder why. As a man with a spinal cord injury, my disability is evident to everyone I meet, and after nearly 20 years in a wheelchair, I’ve gained enough perspective to understand there are many people who live with impairments that are not obvious, or even perceivable, and yet sometimes no less impactful on their lives. Disability is unpredictable and can happen to anyone. In fact, more than one in four Americans will be disabled before reaching retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration.
Disability is also widely recognized as both a cause and consequence of poverty. People with disabilities face lower wages, obstacles in education and housing, significant medical expenses, discrimination, and other hurdles to economic prosperity. There’s no doubt that disability poses a significant challenge both to the individual and society.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2020 and this year we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, health care, and social services, while also setting standards for privately owned businesses and commercial facilities.The effects of this sweeping legislation have been profound; however, the principal goal of full inclusion for all Americans with disabilities remains elusive. Although some businesses are making accommodations for the disabled, many people with severe or visible disabilities still struggle in the workforce.
GZA is proud to bring attention to this important issue and to promote the 30th anniversary of this historic achievement. Consistent with our Core Values, we will continue to embrace these challenges, provide opportunities for all, and support our communities. We believe that America is at its best when we work side-by-side, leveraging all our strengths in recognition that people with disabilities are assets, not a burden. Let’s all work together to fulfill the promise of the ADA.