ADA at 30: Building an Inclusive Progressive Movement

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The Americans with Disabilities Act is 30 years old this month, and while gains continue to be made, it is impossible to ignore that what we are seeing in 2020—a pandemic, a recession, and a presidential election—are coming together in a perfect storm. Disability policy all too often lives in a silo, separate from other policy discussions about poverty and inequality, climate change, criminal justice reform, and more. However, with the impact of the coronavirus and the long-term effects of the virus still unknown, the United States may potentially see the largest boom in disability numbers since the AIDS and HIV crisis during the 1980s. What does that mean for policy, for infrastructure, and for families who have already been struggling?

Disability remains a cause and consequence of economic insecurity. The recession has hit low-wage workers the hardest, the majority of whom are people with disabilities and preexisting conditions. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aggressive continuing disability reviews for Social Security benefits, and an overstretched health care workforce are all affecting the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities and their families.

At the same time, after losing the battle for H.R. 620, conservatives are actively weaponizing the Americans with Disabilities Act to suppress and attack other marginalized communities on issues of voting, access to health care, homelessness, and the national COVID-19 response.

Please join the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and a panel of cross-movement organizers for the commemoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a discussion of where we go from here.

We’d love to hear your questions. Please submit any questions you have for our distinguished guests via email at or on Twitter using #ADA30.

Opening remarks:
Rebecca Cokley, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Distinguished guests:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Secretary Julián Castro, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Neera Tanden, CEO, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Featured panelists:
Ella Callow, Chief ADA/504 Compliance Officer, University of California, Berkeley
Sandy Ho, Founder, Disability Intersectionality Summit; Research Associate, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy
Nicole Lee, Founder of Inclusive Life and Nicole Lee Consulting, LLC

Vilissa Thompson, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund