Professionals reflect on the importance of the Americans With Disabilities Act 30 years after it has passed

Professionals reflect on the importance of the Americans With Disabilities Act 30 years after it has passed

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - This year marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The ADA was passed back in the year 1990.

The act prohibits discrimination based on a disability.

Bonnie Danberry is the Executive Director at the SMILES Center for Independent Living, a local nonprofit that aims to serve people with disabilities.

“So it’s really important for people to have access to the community,” she said.

She said the ADA plays an important role, especially now, when it comes to providing equal access to health care, and that SMILES is continuing to provide their services remotely.

“People can call in for information. We can help advocate for their health care or housing issues during this time,” she said.

SMILES has also assisted people with transportation, getting to appointments or picking up groceries if they can’t leave their house.

And as Minnesota State University, Mankato prepares to welcome students back in the fall with a mixture of face-to-face and online instruction, staff are working with students to navigate what works best for them.

“One of the hallmarks of the ADA is that we look at each student on a case-by-case basis, because no two people are alike, and so we don’t have sweeping rules, because you need to look at each student, situation, their circumstances and kind of navigate the process with them,” said Julie Snow, Director of Accessibility Resources at MSU, Mankato.

This year is an election year, and the ADA also protects the rights of voters with disabilities.

This includes making registration accessible, making polling places accessible and more.

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