Image of Progress Center community members at Progress Center booth at the 2018 AccessChicago Expo
Image of Progress Center community members at the 2018 AccessChicago Expo

Statement from Progress Center for Independent Living on the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

As Progress Center for Independent Living celebrates the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 2018, we applaud the members of the disability community who advocated fearlessly to pass the law, which was signed by President George HW Bush on July 26, 1990. Their dedicated work has paved the way in securing equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

Many physical barriers have been eliminated as a result of the ADA, giving people with disabilities and opportunity to participate in society.  The elimination of physical barriers benefits not only people with disabilities, but all people, creating better access for fathers pushing strollers, travelers carrying luggage, and seniors navigating their communities.

One significant barrier that people with disabilities still encounter, however, is misguided and antiquated attitudes and misconceptions about disability.  Many still believe disability should be pitied, disability should be cured, and that people with disabilities living their lives the way a non-disabled person would is inspirational.  The ADA can’t change these attitudes; as the law moves into its 29th year, it is up to people with disabilities and their allies to continue to educate and change perceptions some people have toward people with disabilities.  People often don’t pay attention to the views of disabled people, but as more and more do, attitudes and perceptions will begin to change.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is law that protects all people with disabilities, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Moving forward, disability advocates must also address racism, bigotry and prejudice within our own community.  For too long, the voices and concerns of people of color within the disability community have been silenced or ignored.  For too long, the community has not been a community that is fully inclusive and representative of all its members, and the community has failed to prioritize issues that impact disabled people of color and disabled people who are LGBTQ.

The ADA is a vehicle that drives the spirit of civil rights for people with disabilities.  In order to continue the success of the Americans with Disability Act, all members of the community and members of the non-disabled community must work together and create an inclusive movement that welcomes all members and that supports all members.  Progress Center is ready and Progress Center is excited to play a role in this effort.  People who have experienced or are experiencing discrimination, or who have concerns about issues impacting people with disabilities, are encouraged to call Progress Center at (708) 209-1500.

Progress Center is the Center for Independent Living that serves Suburban Cook County. Progress Center works to provide people with all types of disabilities the tools and resources to be independent in their own homes. Progress Center is one of 22 centers serving Illinois, and one of more than 400 centers in the United States.

For more information, contact Larry Biondi at or Gary Arnold at