Washington, D.C., July 30 – “We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life,” Cory Booker tweeted in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday. “As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities.”
This year marks the 29th anniversary of the ADA becoming law. The ADA was intended to ensure that people with disabilities could earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else.
The Booker campaign has included a page on his website on ensuring equality for people with disabilities since its launch.
“As president, Cory will work to ensure accessibility, equality, and opportunity for all people with disabilities,” his website states, including, “break down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing, and health care with the Disability Integration Act; fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and raise wages for people with disabilities by phasing out the subminimum wage.”
The Booker campaign also has a new accessibility policy on its website. “Cory 2020 is dedicated to offering a quality online experience to those with disabilities,” it states. “Cory 2020 is working to achieve substantial conformance with generally-recognized and accepted guidelines for website accessibility… The website will continue to be assessed on a recurring basis in an effort to substantially comply with these guidelines.”
This is important as a study last month by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that none of the 2020 presidential candidates have websites that fully comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Just a few days following this study, the Booker campaign had an hour-long phone call with RespectAbility detailing steps they could take to become more accessible – on their website as well as via social media, at events, etc.
Booker was one of 12 of the 20 Democratic candidates debating this week to make any mention of the ADA anniversary on Friday. According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.
Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 candidates take to the debate stage, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues at this time.
“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the board chair of RespectAbility. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.