Headlines Verizon & The 13th Anniversary of the ADA

Circa 2003
Title Headlines



July 26, 2003 marked the 13th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Since becoming law, the ADA has helped to improve the quality of life for more than 50 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities. As a result, it is easier today for people with disabilities to find a job, to enter public buildings and to live more independently in their communities. These are all welcome changes in Ameri can life.” noted President Bush during a radio address to the nation.

Joining President Bush were members of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, which is comprised of men and women with disabilities, as well as parents, teachers, healthcare workers and advocates. The committee had recently voted to change their name and on this day, the President signed an executive order instituting the committee’s name change to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

“There is much more we can do to assure that Ameri cans with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect. As part of the New Freedom Initiative we’re giving states funding to help people with disabilities commute to work or purchase equipment that allows them to work from home. We are promoting home ownership for people with disabilities, and educating builders about the need for more accessible rental housing,” said the President.

There are a few important ways President Bush’s administration is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring people with disabilities receive the treatment and support they need. The administration is working with Congress to provide record levels of funding for special education programs. Better accessibility of government websites so people with disabilities can find governmental services and programs more easily is also on the agenda. Lastly, there is a greater focus on providing better care to people who have mental illness.

“We’re making good progress toward ensuring persons with disabilities know the American dream is meant for them.” continues the President. “With changes in old ways of thinking, the development of new technologies, and the federal government’s firm commitment to equality, more and more people with disabilities continue to become full participants in the American life.”

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In recognition of Verizon’s leadership in serving the needs of people with disabilities, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) honored the company with a 2003 “Justice for All” award during a ceremony on the 13th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Verizon understands that people with disabilities comprise a very large market and they market to us in innovative ways,” notes Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of AAPD. “We’re a pool of talent-and they recruit and cultivate employees with disabilities. Products and services need to be designed to work for the entire disability community and Verizon has a universal design policy, which is unusual in the corporate world.”

Kathy Brown, senior vice president of public policy development at Verizon, said in accepting the award on behalf of the company. “I am proud to be a part of the Verizon team because it is a company that recognizes the deep value of ensuring that all of its customers are served well.”

Verizon is a leader in serving the communications needs of people with disabilities through the Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities and Forward Access. The Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities assists customers with basic and optional phone services as well as relay services using text telephones, phone bills in large type or Braille and specialized phone equipment. Forward Access is an online newsletter geared to the interests of the company’s 4.9 million customers with disabilities. The quarterly newsletter pro vides updates on technology for people with disabilities, government policies on accessibility, information on the use of telephone equipment and helpful resource links.

This year. Verizon has also launched a national campaign to promote careers in Braille textbook transcribing at the federal and state levels. Verizon is also seeking to raise general awareness of the needs school children who are blind and low-vision have for timely access to textbooks. and learning materials. The campaign is a part of Verizon Reads, the umbrella organization for Verizon’s support of improving literacy in America.

The 2003 “Justice for All” awards were presented to five individuals and one corporation (Verizon). The American Association of People with Disabilities said each award recipient has made extraordinary contributions to the political and economic empowerment of children and adults with disabilities.

For more information on AAPD please visit www.aopd.com

For more information on Verizon visit www.verizon.com

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