At the 25th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, people with disabilities are the last major group still lacking many basic rights.
That's what Sherry L. Repscher, executive director of the Utah Governor's Committee on Employment of People With Disabilities, and other members of the National Rehabilitation Association are telling congressmen this week."At the 25th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, people with disabilities have waited long enough for rights," Repscher said before a meeting with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
"But the trouble is for every right they lack, there is a dollar sign attached. To get better access to buildings, there's a dollar sign attached. To get better public transportation, there's a dollar sign attached," she said.
The National Rehabilitation Association, which is holding a convention in Washington this week, is especially lobbying Congress to support the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, housing, travel, communications and government activities.
"Even if we can't fix all the problems now, we start today to avoid future problems. For example, requiring buildings to have access for the disabled when they are built is much easier than retrofitting," she said.
"All of us can become one of the disabled eventually. So I feel I am actually working for my own future," Repscher said.
Other legislation her group is supporting includes full funding of programs to assist those with disabilities to find meaningful employment and self-sufficiency.