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Possibilities of ADA — Harkin

Dear ABILITY readers, Thanks to the progress we’ve made since passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) more than 20 years ago, millions of people have grown up proud of who they are, confident that the doors of opportunity are open to them. This landmark legislation was a major victory for equality, and helped to change the lives of ...
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Harkin Statement on 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement on the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Harkin was the Senate sponsor of the ADA and delivered the first-ever Senate floor speech in American Sign Language upon Senate passage of the law. Harkin recorded ...
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Harkin — The Benefits of Health Care

THE HEALTH REFORM LAW: MAJOR PROGRESS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES Dear ABILITY Readers, The new health reform law, signed by President Obama last month, includes provisions that offer important new protections and choices for individuals with disabilities. These provisions—for which I fought very hard— include, for example, prohibitions on denying insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions, increased access to ...
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Celebrating the ADA — Reflections From Tom Harkin

As we all know, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As chief sponsor of the ADA in the Senate, I will always remember the day it was signed into law—July 26, 1990—as one of the proudest in my legislative career. We have come a long way in the last 20 years. Before ...
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Harkin Voices Support for Ratification of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Sen. Harkin: “Good Morning.  I would like to thank Chairman Kerry and the Committee ...
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Holding Contractors to a Higher Standard

Within the US Department of Labor, Patricia A. Shiu directs the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Her team makes sure that contractors who do business with the federal government adhere to affirmative action and equal employment opportunities for both job seekers and wage earners. Recently, OFCCP proposed new rules that will compel contractors and subcontractors to set ...
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Education Determines Income

 Accessible Classrooms Level the Playing Field Recently I chaired a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on the promise of accessible technology and its challenges and opportunities. It was the latest in a series of hearings convened since last year to explore issues that impact the employment prospects of Americans with disabilities. Of course our overall goal ...
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Christopher Reeve — The Tribute

Please, let’s forget about calling him Superman just this once. More appropriate labels would be pioneer, warrior, father and husband. But the actor-turned-activist, who died from heart failure October 10 at the age of 52, will forever be remembered as the man who portrayed the title role in the 1978 film Superman and its three sequels. Leaping tall buildings ...
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RUDERMAN — A Family with a Strong Foundation

Jay Ruderman is president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which focuses on the inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide and educating Israeli leaders on the American Jewish community. Recent he spoke with ABILITY’s Chet Cooper and Lia Martirosyan about his philanthropy across a range of initiatives. Chet Cooper: How did the Ruderman Family Foundation, get started? Jay Ruderman: The ...
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JENNIFER SHEEHY — Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor

On the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend, the streets of Washington, D.C., are barren except for a warm breeze blowing a few stragglers home for the three-day weekend. Parking is prolific, and normal congestion is reduced to a stray car passing by. Elvis has left the city, but the Department of Labor (DOL) is on the job. It ...
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Itzhak Perlman — Musician, Maestro, Advocate

Tune in to your local classical radio station anywhere in North America, and it won’t take long for someone to mention the name Itzhak Perlman. It is rare for a musician in the classical genre to become the rock star that Perlman has become. Known for the tremendous emotion he exudes through each string he caresses, he has taken lead in dominating the title ‘virtuoso ...
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Freedom to Choose

FULFILLING THE PROMISE OF COMMUNITY LIVING Dear ABILITY readers, At a recent roundtable of the Senate HELP Committee, Emmanuel Smith described the challenges he faced growing up in Iowa with brittle bone disease. All his life, he feared that if he were to incur an injury, it would limit his independence and force him into a nursing home. The ...
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Haiti – Disability Agenda

Since October of 2011, James English has served as an advisor to Gerald Oriol, Jr., Haiti’s Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities. In October 2012, English traveled to Haiti for the one-year anniversary of Oriol’s appointment. He documented that visit for ABILITY Magazine, which ran the piece in conjunction with the third anniversary of the ...
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The Reality of Restraints

Dear ABILITY readers, At a recent event in Washington, Robert Ernst described how as a first grader, he was dragged down the hallway of his school by his wrists and thrown into isolation by school officials. He remained unattended in a dark, small room for up to 30 minutes at a time because he had a learning disability and ...
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Make a Commitment

Dear ABILITY readers, At the beginning of every new year, millions of Americans make resolutions to live better. They plan to eat healthier, lose weight, quit smoking and/or step up their volunteer work. As we begin 2014, I propose that we make an additional, collective resolution: to renew our commitment to creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. While ...
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The ADA Generation

Dear ABILITY readers, Many of the stories in this magazine are a testament to the progress our nation has made since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet for numerous Americans who came of age since the law was enacted in 1990, one stubborn challenge remains before we can achieve full equality for all: employment.— My ...
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Implementing the Final Rule

Dear ABILITY readers, In the 23 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, we have seen significant progress in increasing the accessibility of the built environment in the United States, as well as in improving access in our telecommunications, technology and transportation infrastructures. More importantly, the ADA has given millions of Americans the opportunity ...
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China’s Mao Di — Clap Happy

Music lovers close their eyes to savor a performance, which seems to make the melody and charm linger. But if all the actors on stage had their eyes closed during a performance how would that affect the audience? In fact, there is a troupe in Tianjin, China, where most of the actors perform with their eyes closed. The majority ...
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MADA — Global Assistive Technology

Chet Cooper of ABILITY Magazine traveled to Doha, Qatar and met members of the country’s Assistive Technology Center – also known as Mada. He sat down with Ahmed Habib, head of communications, as well as Anirban Lahiri, senior assistive technology specialist. Danielle Zurovick, PhD, joined in the discussion. Chet Cooper: Tell me about the idea behind Mada. Ahmed Habib: ...
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Scott Baio — Happy Days

Over nearly four decades, Scott Baio has carved out a career on TV. In the mid-70’s he played Chachi on the long-running TV series Happy Days, which led to the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. He went on to star on TV’s Charles in Charge and later the medical mystery drama Diagnosis Murder. Although he received two Emmy Award nominations ...