Disability community reflects on H.W. Bush signing the ADA


AUSTIN (KXAN) — America forever changed after President H.W. Bush’s administration. He signed the monumental Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, creating a more accessible country for people with disabilities. 

“Let the shameful wall of exclusion, finally come tumbling down,” President Bush said in the signing ceremony for the ADA.

You can see signs of the ADA in your everyday life: from parking spots to cuts in the sidewalk, sign language interpreters in times of emergency, even accessible seating for movie theaters and sports stadiums.

“It’s a watershed moment in the history of the United States. And you know what? It’s not just people with disabilities. I mean how many times have you seen somebody pushing a stroller and using a wheelchair ramp or using a curb cut instead of trying to take their baby and going over that curb,” said  Dennis Borrel, Executive Director for the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. He says Bush was not only the person who signed the law – he was a major advocate for it.

“Incredibly enough only 28 years ago, it was perfectly legal to discriminate against a person because of their disability,” said Borrel. 

However, the State of Texas has claimed sovereign immunity from the ADA, making most lawsuits impossible. Borrel calls on state leaders – Gov. Greg Abbott, AG Ken Paxton, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and likely Speaker of the Texas House, Dennis Bonnen – to remove that policy this next legislative session. So far, calls for comment from those leaders have gone unanswered.

The body of our 41st President has officially arrived at our nation’s capital. George H.W. Bush died on Friday at the age of 94.

Earlier, when asked about his time in office on the Today Show, Bush said, “Well, I want somebody else to define the legacy. I’ve kind of banned the use of the L-word, legacy word. I think history will point out the things I did wrong and perhaps some of the things we did right.” 

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