ALBANY, NEW YORK – Sunday, July 26, 2020, marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a critical civil rights law that aims to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York is proud to play a pivotal role in the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts under the ADA.
“The ADA has improved the lives of all Americans by ensuring that people with disabilities have access and equal opportunity, but some still encounter barriers,” said United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith. “Our commitment to the fair and just enforcement of the ADA’s requirements is unwavering. We will not rest until every American is able to participate fully in our society.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has prioritized enforcing the ADA to vindicate the rights of people with disabilities in several recent matters. These efforts include:
• Ensuring Equal Access to Polling Places. The Justice Department’s ADA Voting Initiative focuses on protecting the right of individuals with disabilities, and a hallmark of that initiative is helping jurisdictions increase accessibility at polling places. As part of that initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has reviewed polling places throughout the Northern District of New York over the past four years and has helped boards of elections identify and remedy barriers to voting.
• Ensuring Equal Access to Municipal Programs and Services. Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, entered into an agreement with the City of Hudson to ensure that its programs and services are accessible to persons with disabilities. The agreement requires the City to identify and remove barriers to program access as well as to implement measures to ensure equal access to its programs and services.
• Ensuring Effective Communication by Medical Providers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Effective Communication initiative, initiated compliance reviews of area medical providers to ensure that they had procedures and policies to provide effective communication with patients who have sight, hearing, and speech impairments.
The promise of the ADA is its wide-ranging efforts to eliminate disability discrimination across the range of services, programs, and activities that most Americans take for granted, but were largely inaccessible to individuals with disabilities prior to the law’s enactment. Whether in employment, areas of civic life, or in the day-to-day activities and access to goods and services that we all enjoy, the ADA ensures that individuals with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities as all Americans to participate in everything this nation has to offer.
Over the past 30 years, the United States has undertaken the challenge of changing perceptions about disability, tearing down barriers to equality, and altering the systems that have historically excluded people with disabilities. Today, the Justice Department commemorates the many ways that the ADA has transformed society—by replacing exclusion with access, segregation with integration, and limitations with self-determination.
For more information about the 30th Anniversary of the ADA, please visit https://www.ada.gov/.
More information about the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Unit and its enforcement efforts is available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndny/civil-division.
To file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline, please visit the portal at USANYN.Civil.Rights.Hotline@usdoj.gov, call (518) 618-1619, or complete this form https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao‑ndny/pages/attachments/2015/04/09/civil_rights_complaint_form.pdf.
To file a complaint with the Department, please visit the Civil Rights Division’s portal at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/. For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.