The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Countdown Tour paid a timely visit to St. Paul, just after Gov. Mark Dayton announced a new goal for increased hiring of people with disabilities in state government.
The tour, led by acclaimed disability rights photographer Tom Olin, arrived in a vividly adorned bus to honor the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities for its celebrated “Moments in Disabilities History” series.
The first 19 of a planned 31 episodes are available on the council’s website. The August installment focuses on the 5,000 stories of discrimination that were collected by advocate Justin Dart. Dart used the stories to help secure passage of the ADA in Congress in 1990.
“The Minnesota council has a reputation for producing excellent work, and it has created many outstanding presentations over the years,” said Olin. He discussed many of his most famous shots at a council meeting, and presented the council with a framed copy of one of his best known pieces on behalf of the ADA Legacy Project.
The ADA Legacy bus tour began at the President George H. W. Bush Library in Houston, Texas and stopped at the Iowa capitol in Des Moines before coming to Minnesota. It was traveling to Washington, D.C.
The ADA Legacy Project is a national group based in Atlanta, home to the new Center for Civil and Human Rights. Colleen Wieck, council executive director, said she was gratified by the recognition. “This was especially pleasing coming from the ADA Legacy Project, and just as Governor Dayton has issued his comprehensive executive order that will increase the employment of people with disabilities by state agencies. It should also encourage hiring efforts in the private sector,” she said.
Twelve remaining episodes in the “Moments in Disabilities History” series will be released as part of a countdown to the ADA 25th anniversary in July 2015. “The Moments in History yet to come parallel the events that occurred in passing the ADA and illustrate the commitment and courage of those who fought for fairness and justice for those who have disabilities,” said Wieck.