ADA 30 Upcoming Events


From March through October 2020, the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a series of community-wide events recognizing the landmark law that has transformed lives by removing barriers to civic participation, housing, transportation, employment, arts and recreation, education and more.

The Pittsburgh/Allegheny County ADA 30th Anniversary celebration will highlight local accomplishments and champions, as well as next steps for our community

The key messages of the anniversary celebration are:

  • The ADA is the most important civil rights legislation of the past 30 years. It has transformed the lives of individuals with disabilities, their families, and the community.
  • Accessibility and inclusion benefit everyone in the community.
  • A disability-friendly community addresses the spirit of the ADA, not just the letter of the law.
  • An inclusive community champions diversity of all kinds, including differing abilities.
  • Universal design concepts and advanced technology hold promise for increasing access and inclusion for everyone.
  • The ADA encompasses more than just physical access (e.g. wheelchair ramps) – it promotes accommodation for a wide range of disabilities in a variety of settings.
  • Although the ADA has created a more inclusive American society, significant inequities remain, especially in employment. People with disabilities who can and want to work continue to face barriers.

Calendar of Events Highlighting the 30th Anniversary of the ADA

Additional events may be added. Visit for additional information.)

Thursday, October 8, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

From Exclusion to Autonomy:  The History and Future of Accessible Transportation in Western Pennsylvania

Heinz History Center and the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium will offer a virtual conference on the history of accessible public transportation in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and current/future issues. The conference will premiere a short film about the advocacy of the late Paul Dick, who led efforts to establish Pittsburgh’s paratransit system.


This program is free but registration is required. Please register online.

This program will be presented virtually.

Live captioning and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

 Throughout 2020

Transitional Path to Independent Living is sponsoring a Facebook campaign entitled “What the ADA Means to Me.” Visit

Previous Events

All Summer

Port Authority of Allegheny County buses “wrapped” in the ADA 30th anniversary logo will circulate throughout the city and county through the end of 2020. These buses are a visible reminder that accessible public transportation is one of the major accomplishments of the ADA, and that the Port Authority of Allegheny County is recognized as a national leader. The ACCESS paratransit system for people with disabilities is considered one of the most successful in the nation.

Port Authority Bus wrapped with ADA 30 logo

Public Source is presenting ADA at 30: Accessibility in Pittsburgh (, a series of reports on recognition of the  30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Post include:

Through July 26, 2020

Achieva is compiling a sponsoring a keepsake book of “Thank You” notes to former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney Dick Thornburgh   in appreciation for his commitment to the civil rights of people with disabilities. On July 26, 1990, Attorney General Thornburgh joined thousands to witness President George H.W. Bush’s signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  It was a day of optimism and hope that began a transformation in the lives and minds of millions. It was a momentous event that transpired thanks in large part to the work of Dick Thornburgh, who was the U.S. Attorney General at the time.

While there is no shortage of advocates, Capitol Hill staff, and other public policymakers who deserve credit for this landmark civil rights legislation, then-Attorney General Thornburgh was instrumental inside the executive branch, making sure the strength and integrity of the legislation were maintained and the bill delivered across the goal line. In an Op-Ed message in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2015, Mr. Thornburgh wrote, “In my estimation, the ADA has transformed American life, opening everyday opportunities for persons with disabilities while ushering in an era of independence, dignity, and choice for more than 54 million Americans with disabilities.”

July 22-29

ReelAbilities short films

Film Pittsburgh’s ReelAbilities film festival, in partnership with Oakland for All, presents a selection of engaging short films from the Australian-based, Bus Stop Films. The films will be available July 22 – 29 at

Directed by Bus Stop co-founder Genevieve Clay-Smith, the program includes six award-winning short films (and a behind-the-scenes documentary) created by people of all abilities. This line-up played ReelAbilities Pittsburgh on opening night of the 2019 festival. The films will be presented with open captions, audio description and ASL interpretation.

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:

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.

Saturday, July 25 – 4:00-6:00 p.m.

ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Virtual Happy Hour

Community members and advocates are invited to attend this virtual happy hour for an opportunity to make connections, share experiences, and discuss the films that are part of the week-long access to the ReelAbilities film festival courtesy of Film Pittsburgh.

Friday, July 24, 2:00-3:00 pm

Virtual Town Hall: 30 Years of the ADA, Pearls of Great Value

This town hall meeting will focus on the impact of the ADA on increasing access and opportunity for people with disabilities and the work that still needs to happen for full extension of rights for people with disabilities. Though the ADA has created a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable society-at-large, significant inequities remain. Join the discussion with leadership, policymakers, stakeholders and community advocates.

Keynote Speaker: Jessica Benham, 2020 Democratic Candidate for State Representative, 36th District

Additional Speakers: Erika Strassburger, Pittsburgh City Council Woman, District 8 and State Representative, Jake Wheatley Jr (District 19)

Emcee: Rev. Sally Jo Snyder

ASL interpreters will be available on-screen during this virtual town hall and closed captioning is expected to be available. CC will be available when the recording is published following the live event, as well.

July 22, 2020; 4:30 – 6:30 pm 

Western PA Disability History and Action Consortium (in conjunction with Disability Pride Virtual PA “30 Days of ADA,” Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance, and ADA 30 Pittsburgh and Allegheny County) will present “Learning from our History: Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution.” This facilitated virtual discussion will cover the obstacles to living beyond the walls of institutionalized settings, current issues in community-based services, and what the future might hold

To attend this and other events throughout the 30-day celebration, visit Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020 for a complete schedule of events:

July 10-14

Global Pittsburgh coordinated a Virtual “visit” July 10-14 with David Anyaele, a Nigerian disability rights advocate. The visit was part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and is scheduled in observance of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Global Pittsburgh is the designated liaison in Western Pennsylvania for the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Pittsburgh was selected for Mr. Anyaele’s visit because of its remarkable accomplishments in rehabilitation science, assistive technology, and advocacy. Local young professionals who are disability rights advocates will participate in the visit, as will the UPMC Disabilities Resource Center, and Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Human Engineering Research Laboratories.

Mr. Anyaele is the founder/director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, which helped pass Nigeria’s first Disability Rights Act in 2019. His 20-year career in disability rights advocacy

began after he forcibly lost his hands and forearms in a brutal attack by rebels in Sierra Leone in 1999.

Monday, July 20 WESA’s The Confluence will air an interview with Mr. Anyaele between 9 and 9:30 am.

May 5

Sixth Annual Ramp Crawl
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Oakland For All will host the 6th Annual Ramp Crawl, an innovative event in which participants “crawl” to participating locations where they enjoy food and drink specials—all while raising awareness of the important of accessibility.

March 3

Disability and Mental Health SummitDisability & Mental Health Summit Hosted by Representative Dan Miller with Stars and a Blue Banner, Celebrating ADA 30th Anniversary
Hosted by Representative Dan Miller
8:30 a.m.- 8:00 pm

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The Disability & Mental Health Summit provides the largest collection of resources in western Pennsylvania. For the last six years, this event has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people. This year’s keynote speaker is The Honorable Tony Coelho, one of the architects of the ADA. Congressman Coelho introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act and championed its passage, but that wasn’t the end of his advocacy or the entire story of his passion. In his keynote address, the Congressman will talk about how and why the ADA was introduced, discuss his own disability story, and talk about what must come next in the fight to increase independence and opportunity for everyone.

 Many organizations want their programs and services to be accessLogo with circular paint brushstroke in blue with Disability Inclusion & Access: Moving Forward in the center of the circleible to people with disabilities but aren’t sure how to make improvements. FISA Foundation is pleased to partner with Bender Consulting Services to offer a series of short (one hour) videos, to address common accessibility issues. Each video provides step-by-step instructions in an accessible format, and is followed by a downloadable PDF of the main points. Together, the series will allow users to increase the accessibility of your agency’s communications, meetings and events. Archived webinars can be found here.

Understanding the Terms of Engagement:  Cultural Factors and Considerations when Engaging with People with Disabilities

This session provides high level insight into effective practices for engaging with the disability community. Topics: inclusive communication and customer service strategies; cultural considerations across a variety of disability types; and historical perspective into current trends for disability inclusion. This one-hour recording will help you feel confident in your ability to successfully interact with people with disabilities in a meaningful and productive manner and to identify and address barriers to program inclusion.  

Website Accessibility: The Ramps and Rails of the Digital World – Why Basic Website Accessibility is Important for Your Organization

Understand how people with disabilities use and interact with the digital world and what solutions can be put in place to ensure an inviting and inclusive experience for visitors to your website. Learn how to increase traffic and return visits to your website, by avoiding color contrast failures, ineffective captioning, misuse of headings, and other common accessibility errors that cause people with disabilities to abandon your site. With legal cases involving inaccessible websites on the rise, it is more important than ever to learn about both the legal and business case for website accessibility. This session will provide basic tips for digital accessibility, including an overview of common accessibility errors and highlight the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.X.

Document Accessibility: Can You Read This? Creating Accessible Documents, Brochures, PDFs, Flyers, Reports and more

Did you know that a lack of accessibility in documents can prevent readers from consuming information in a logical reading order? Learn about this common accessibility problems and understand how accessibility factors into the readability of the materials your organization is producing for marketing, donation requests, reporting, and daily administrative use. This session provides examples of common accessibility errors and provides accessibility tips and solutions for a variety of document types. Session participants will understand how to effectively use MS Office program tools to incorporate solutions and check for accessibility.

Social Media Accessibility: Our Network Depends on it – Accessible Social Media Posts and Campaigns

A strong social media presence is a crucial success factor for small and large organizations. Successfully navigating the process of creating accessible social media posts and campaigns can increase the return on social media engagement. This session will provide an outline of general social media accessibility concepts, an understanding of platform accessibility features for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and address disability social media etiquette. Participants will understand how to apply basic solutions to accessibility in the social media environment.

Disability Smart Events: Welcoming, Not Simply Accommodating – Accessible Planning for Conferences, Workshops, Galas, Staff Meetings and More

Discover tips for increasing facility and program accessibility. The session will highlight new and emerging trends in providing an inclusive experience for people with disabilities, establish a basic checklist of considerations to be addressed, and discuss how the introduction of these solutions can increase participation in community and workplace events. Participants in this webinar will feel confident in proactively addressing barriers for people with disabilities.


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