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VCIL Gears Up to Celebrate ADA’s 26th Anniversary

July 26, 2016

As the Vermont Center for Independent Living prepares to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Tuesday, advocates are mindful of all that still needs to be done.

VCIL is a statewide nonprofit organization directed and staffed by individuals with disabilities that works to promote the dignity, independence and civil rights of Vermonters with disabilities.

“This year is one of solidarity within our movement and with others. So much hardship in the world makes us reflect that we are all in this together,” said VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville. “The ADA had a promise of inclusion, but that promise has not been fulfilled. As we look ahead to the next year, we continue to fight for people with disabilities and uphold the mandate of the ADA.”

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 with an eye toward preventing discrimination, in all aspects of society, against people with disabilities. President George H.W. Bush signed the act into law, proclaiming, “Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

But, as Launderville, noted, “Many Vermonters with disabilities are being left on the sidelines in many situations and that simply must change.”

Launderville will be speaking at the National Council on Independent Living’s rally in Washington, DC on July 26 and will focus on inclusion and solidarity. She believes it is important to pause and celebrate all that has been accomplished.

Monica Caserta Hutt, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, is one of those partners helping to uphold the promise of the ADA. “When I reflect on the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, I am grateful for community partners such as VCIL who have dedicated themselves to making the ADA concrete in the lives of individuals with disabilities. The Agency of Human Services and the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living is proud of what we have accomplished together and looks forward to increasing access and inclusion for all Vermonters. ”

To that end, open houses are being held in honor of the landmark law. Vermonters are urged to swing by VCIL’s Montpelier, Burlington or Brattleboro office, to learn about VCIL and enjoy some refreshments. The Burlington and Montpelier offices will be showing movies that celebrate diversity and disability and the journey it took to get where we are today. Details are as follows:

Brattleboro Office (28 Vernon St., Suite 317) ~ 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. July 28.
Burlington Office (7 Kilburn St., Suite 312) ~ 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. July 29.
Montpelier Office (11 East State St.) ~ 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. July 26.