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The Times
  • RCIL marks anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law more than 20 years ago.

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  • The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law more than 20 years ago.
    But at the Resource Center for Independent Living, the fight for the independence of individuals with disabilities continues.
    “Even if someone is disabled, they deserve to be able to go into public places, or own a home, or hold a job,” said Diana Ellis Sorrento, director of development for the local organization. “Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.”
    Equal rights took a big step forward, however, when the Americans with Disabilities Act – a “comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” – was signed in 1990. The 23rd anniversary of that signing was celebrated Friday at an event hosted by RCIL.
    “We always celebrate the signing because it is important to remember where we started,” Sorrento said. “Also, what laws have been implemented and where we still have to go for equality.”
    RCIL offers services for individuals with disabilities from childhood to adulthood, all designed to help them remain independent and avoid “unnecessary institutionalization,” Executive Director Burt Danovitz said.
    “There’s a very strong institutional bias in public policy and so we’ve been trying to reverse that,” Danovitz said.
    The organization’s past advocacy work included helping to write legislation that made all buses in New York state accessible.
    RCIL also provides jobs for individuals with disabilities, and the majority of its board members have disabilities as well.
    “We want people to be integrated and to continue to promote equality,” Sorrento said.

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