Pittsburgh and Allegheny Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

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The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a series of virtual events recognizing the landmark law that has transformed lives by removing barriers to civic participation, housing, transportation, employment, arts and recreation, education and much more. The goals of these events are to highlight the impact of the ADA on of people’s lives, celebrate accomplishments in our community, and highlight areas where the intent of the ADA has not been fully realized.

The Pittsburgh/Allegheny County ADA Committee, comprised of dozens of nonprofit organizations, self-advocates, university representatives, government groups, and funders, is proud to partner with Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020, a 30-day statewide celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To participate in events throughout the month, visit Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020 for a complete schedule of events. Locally produced events include:

Learning from our History: Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 4:30-6:00 pm

This virtual discussion will address obstacles in living beyond the walls of institutionalized settings, current issues in community-based services, and what the future might hold.

Before the discussion, view one or more of the videos that will help frame our discussion:

  • From Wrongs to Rights (2013 / 8 minutes) tells the story of early 1970s activism in Western Pennsylvania that exposed the use of cages at Polk institution and led to the firing of the superintendent. The activism created momentum for the de-institutionalization movement.

Click here to view the film

  • i go home (2016 / 56 minutes) recounts the history of barring children with intellectual disability from public schools and advising parents to send them to institutions. A late-1960s Philadelphia television news expose’ shed light on deplorable conditions inside the walls of Pennhurst institution and motivated the public to demand change.

Click here to view the film

  • Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization (2015 / 57 min.) explores the principle of “normalization”—a revolutionary idea in human services in the 1970s that challenged long-held assumptions about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and became the framework for human services. https://vimeo.com/160372828

Password: wolfdoc

The discussion will be facilitated by Guy Caruso, Western Coordinator, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and invited participants include:  Brenda Dare, self-advocate, Independent Living Project Manager for Transitional Paths to Independent Living; Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University; Debbie Robinson, Executive Director, Speaking for Ourselves; Nancy Thaler, former Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs. This event is sponsored by Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance, ADA 30 Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

ReelAbilities Short Films

Film Pittsburgh’s ReelAbilities film festival, in partnership with Oakland for All, hosts a series of six award-winning short film, created by people of all abilities, in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. The films will be available July 22 – 29 at www.oaklandforall.org

ReelAbilities Pittsburgh is an annual film festival that explores and celebrates the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of individuals with disabilities. This year’s festival will take place November 11-22, 2020. For more information, visit: https://filmpittsburgh.org/pages/reelabilities.

Advocating for a more accessibility-friendly business district in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Oakland For All is a collaborative program driven by Oakland stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, local and state government offices, and community advocates.

In addition, Public Source and Unabridged Press, two media outlets, are co-presenting ADA at 30: Accessibility in Pittsburgh , a series of reports in recognition of the  30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This series will explore whether the ADA has worked for people with disabilities in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the work still to be done.

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