Celebrating Passage of Americans With Disabilities Act

Members of the Gallaudet University community will participate in celebrations this month for the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a national declaration of equality.

Gallaudet has an historic link to the ADA. In 1988, the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement ushered in the first deaf president of the university and become synonymous with self-determination and empowerment for deaf and hard of hearing people everywhere. Many credit worldwide media attention on DPN for boosting action towards passage of the ADA; hearings began just weeks after the DPN protest. A little more than two years later, President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark ADA.

Members of campus will be involved in the Festival ADA: 25 Years of Disability Rights July 24-26. The Smithsonian, in partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, is producing a range of activities to mark this historic moment and highlight the ADA’s on-going legacy in American life.

Festival ADA: 25 Years of Disability Rights will be held on the Madison Drive (Mall Side) entrance to the National Museum of American History. Members of the campus community involved with the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival ADA: 25 Years of Disability Rights at National Museum of American History include:

  • President Emeritus Dr. I. King Jordan will moderate a Talk Stage session, History and Passage of the ADA: Congressional and Legal Perspectives, with members of Congress and disability rights leaders on Friday, July 24, at 12:00 p.m.
  • Leticia Arellano, American Sign Language (ASL) proficiency evaluator, and founder of Deaf Women of Color will participate in Conversations on Latino/as and the ADA: Activism and Advocacy on Friday, July 24 at 3:00 p.m. This event will be held at Warner Bros. Theater, first floor, near the Constitution Avenue entrance.
  • Alumnus Manny Hernandez will lead an ASL Storytelling session on the Talk Stage on Friday, July 24, 4:00 p.m.
  • Dr. Brian Greenwald, professor of history, will lead a Talk Stage discussion on Deaf President Now. Panelists include Bridgetta Bourne-Firl, Greg Hlibok and Jeff Rosen on Saturday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Dr. Greenwald will participate in a Talk Stage session on Section 504, Eugenics and Institutionalization; Also participating in this session will be former Gallaudet professor Dr. Susan Burch. The event is on Sunday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m.
  • DeafSpace will be featured every day of the festival at the “DeafSpace and Accessible Architecture” booth and during one Talk Stage Session. Office of Campus Design and Planning staff Hansel Bauman, Chris Hoffmann, Liz Brading, and Derrick Behm will be at the booth. The Talk Stage session will be on Sunday, July 26 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Dr. Christian Vogler and Linda Kozma-Spytek from the Technology Access Program will be exhibiting at the “Assistive Technology” booth with the Administration for Community Living and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research on Sunday, July 26 from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Alumna Melissa Draganac-Hawk will participate in the closing Talk Stage session on Looking Forward after the First 25 Years: Youth Perspectives on Sunday, July 26 at 4:00 p.m.

Three more events at the Kennedy Center will feature deaf performers:

  • On July 20, there will be a free TiLT Dance Party from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Center in the Atrium. Music will be provided by Sean Forbes and DJ Robbie Wilde.
  • Manny Hernandez will host an evening of ASL Storytelling with CJ Jones and another guest on July 21 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. The event is free.
  • On July 25, there will be a free National Dance Day from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. A variety of dancers will perform and lead workshops.

For more information, visit:
The 25/40 Celebration webpage:

The National Museum of American History webpage:

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