Today we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for persons with disabilities. The ADA inspires the world to see disability through the lens of equity and expands opportunities for persons with disabilities to contribute to our global progress. This landmark U.S. law sparked an international shift from viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity to individuals with rights, fully capable of exercising these rights. This perspective serves as a beacon to the more than one billion persons with disabilities worldwide—one in every seven of us. Ensuring that persons with disabilities can proudly participate in all aspects of society is a U.S. foreign policy priority, and a value that we live at the U.S. Department of State.
Special Advisor on International Disability Rights Sara Minkara is at the forefront of our efforts to protect the rights of persons with disabilities globally. With the United States as a co-chair of the Global Action on Disability Network (GLAD), Special Advisor Minkara spearheads our contributions to this body of bilateral and multilateral donors, public organizations, and foundations collectively seeking disability-inclusive international development and humanitarian action. Throughout the Summit for Democracy “Year of Action,” Special Advisor Minkara and her team will lead the United States in pursuing our toward disability-inclusive democracy.
At the U.S. Department of State, we strive to be a model workplace of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, where all employees are treated with respect and have equal opportunity. This Administration emphasizes this commitment through Executive Order 14035, in which “accessibility” is embedded as a core pillar in reflecting, respecting, and advancing our diversity. As the Secretary’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley has underscored, we do not limit our commitment to disability inclusion or recognition of disability pride to one day or one month – we must strive to recognize these important issues every day.
On today’s anniversary, we recommit to shaping a future in which persons with disabilities enjoy all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. And we proudly highlight how disability is in the fabric of our communities, countries, and globe. We urge all to join us in reaffirming the promise of dignity and equity due to persons with disabilities and in acknowledging the work that remains to fully deliver on that promise.