ADA Legacy Project Sets the Stage for the ADA's 25th Birthday

By Kristen Vincent, ADA Legacy Project

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will turn twenty-five in 2015. As with any anniversary, this will cause many of us to reflect on our history, consider the present and think ahead to the future. That is what the ADA Legacy Project is all about.

Founded in August 2012 by a group that included disability rights advocates, scholars, historians, museum curators, documentary filmmakers, government agency representatives, and others, The ADA Legacy Project has three goals:

  1. Preserving our past by partnering with those who work to collect, promote  and exhibit materials from the disability rights movement.

  2. Celebrating our present by partnering with those who work to honor the milestones and accomplishments of the disability rights movement, including the 25th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2015.

  3. Educating our future by partnering with those who work to raise awareness of the history, contributions, and issues still facing people with disabilities, developing our next generation of advocates.
Civil rights for everyone.  Man carries US flag with wheelchair users behind him.

Preservation, celebration and education: this is how we will honor this historic civil rights legislation and create its legacy—a world in which every citizen is accepted for who they are.

ADA Project Logo

The disability community is a thriving network of individuals and organizations who are actively involved in many of these initiatives. As such, the role of The ADA Legacy Project is simply to connect, coordinate and communicate these efforts. In other words, we will serve as a clearinghouse.

As a clearinghouse our focus is on developing partnerships with those individuals and organizations who are working to preserve, celebrate and educate. For example:

For Preservation, we are partners with:

  • The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a 42,000 square foot facility that plans to open May 22, 2014. The Center is dedicated to exploring stories of civil and human rights throughout the world. The ADA Legacy Project has provided content on disability rights, and is working with the Center to develop expanded exhibits on disability rights in 2015 to correspond with the 25th anniversary of passage of the ADA.

For Celebration, we are partners with:

  • Abilities Expo, which is providing space for a traveling ADA Legacy Tour exhibit that will feature historical materials, workshops and opportunities to get involved at the local level. The Tour will launch during the Expo's July 2014 Houston stop and continue through the Expo's Chicago show in 2015. Between Expo shows, the ADA Legacy Tour will also travel to other cities.
  • The National Council on Independent Living, who is planning an event to celebrate the ADA25 in 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • The ADA National Network, which is expanding its online tool kit to offer ways for communities to celebrate ADA25.
  • Beacon Press and Lennard Davis, who are working to develop a book on the ADA's 25th anniversary.

For Education, we are partners with:

  • The Society for Disability Studies, which is developing conferences content surrounding the history and future of the ADA.
  • Disability Studies Quarterly, edited by Richard Scotch, which will develop a special commemorative issue on the past, present, and future of the ADA.
  • The Smithsonian Institution, which is expanding its online curriculum on the ADA.
  • The National Disability Leadership Alliance, which is creating a list of policy initiatives for Congress to address by 2015.
Wheelchair users with flag.

To learn more about The ADA Legacy Project, the ADA Legacy Tour, and our partners, we invite you to visit our website:

The ADA Legacy Project is overseen by a national Coordinating Council. Its work is accomplished by work groups with the assistance of one part-time staff member. If you would like to get involved or become a partner, please contact Coordinator Kristen Vincent at

The ADA Legacy Project also needs your financial support. Let us know if you or your organization would like to be a Sponsor or Champion. You can also make a donation through our 25/25 Legacy Network. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.


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