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Today we proudly celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). More than three decades after this groundbreaking legislation was enacted, the ADA continues to inspire countries and communities around the world to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities.  Today and every day in our foreign policy work, we shine the spotlight on the international disability community, whose skills and contributions bring innovation, diversity and value to their societies, communities, and families.

Many commonplace technologies and advancements to infrastructure and design result from the disability community, which sought to break down barriers and open avenues of access. Systems and structures made inclusive and accessible or built by universal design benefit everyone.

On this ADA anniversary we also again pay our deepest respect to the late American disability rights activist Judith Heumann, globally recognized as the “mother” of the disability rights movement.  We celebrate Judy’s lifelong advocacy, inclusive leadership, and outstanding achievements, including her service as the first Special Advisor on International Disability Rights at the Department of State.  May her memory be a blessing, and her vision and commitment continue to be an inspiration to us all.

As we celebrate this ADA anniversary, we will continue to strengthen our resolve to advance the rights of the disability community, fulfill our obligations and responsibilities, and reinforce our efforts to promote more accessible, equitable, and inclusive societies everywhere we serve.

U.S. Department of State

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