On Friday, July 24, 2015, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Department of Education will bring together policy and program leaders, community organizations, and youth to examine current implications of the ADA’s implementation and cross-cutting issues with other federal civil rights laws, and plant the seeds for the next 25 years of achieving new milestones to advance civil rights for people with all types of disabilities. To united thought leaders with today’s up-and-coming generation of youth and young adults with disabilities, three event elements are being put into place.
Indoor Policy Panels: From 9:00 am to 10:30 am on Friday in the Department of Education’s Barnard Auditorium, two panels will focus on the ADA’s impact on our nation’s education system. The first panel is expected to include the Assistant Secretary for the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Assistant Secretary for the Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). The second panel will be composed of youth leaders, moderated by Janet LaBreck, Commissioner of the Department’s Rehabilitation Services Administration.
At the conclusion of the panels, the audience members will be encouraged to go outside to the plaza on the Maryland Avenue side of the building to participate in the next two event elements. Outside Ceremony: At 10:30 am on Friday on the Department of Education’s plaza, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to lead a short ceremonial event for the assembled crowd lasting now more than 15 minutes. Outside Activities: Immediately following the ceremonial element, from approximately 10:45 am until noon on Friday on the Department of Education’s plaza, middle school and high school students with and without disabilities from around the region will be on hand to participate in a series of outside activities to showcase how students with disabilities can be included in various aspects of educational life, including through participation in athletics.
In addition, there will be opportunities for students to become involved in community based organizations, take part in service learning, and to learn about participating in programs beyond our nation’s borders.
By incorporating immediate opportunities for youth and adults with and without disabilities to participate in events together, we expect these activities to be an appropriate conclusion to our ADA anniversary celebration.