Friday, August 30, 2013

Flag = Hatred

From BBC:
"Why do people still fly the Confederate flag?"

A row has erupted in Virginia over a proposal to fly a huge Confederate flag outside the state capital, Richmond. One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War, the flag can still be seen flying from homes and cars in the South. Why? Recently, there's been a row in Texas over car licence plates bearing the flag, a man arrested after shouting abuse while waving it at a country music concert, and the ongoing fallout from South Carolina flying the flag in front of the State House. Now plans by a heritage group, the Virginia Flaggers, to erect a large Confederate flag on a major road outside Richmond has drawn considerable fire from critics who say it's a symbol of hate.  African Americans, especially older ones, are traumatised when they see the flag, says Salim Khalfani, who has lived in Richmond for nearly 40 years and thinks it risks making the city look like a "hick" backwater that is still fighting the Civil War.  "If it's really about heritage then keep the flag on your private property or in museums but don't mess it up for municipalities and states who are trying to bring tourists here because this will have the opposite effect."  African-American author Clenora Hudson-Weens saw people waving the flags on the street in Memphis a few weeks ago. "I just said to them 'This is 2013' and they just smiled. I personally believe in some traditions but this is a tradition that is so oppressive to blacks. I wouldn't be proud waving a flag that has an ambience of racism and negativity." So has the flag historically been more about slavery or heritage?  You could say that both sides are correct if you look at how the flag has evolved, says David Goldfield, author of Still Fighting The Civil War.
When the Confederacy debated the adoption of a new flag in Richmond in 1862, it was clear this was to be a symbol of white supremacy and a slavery-dominated society, he says. After the war, the flag was primarily used for commemorative purposes at graves, memorial services and soldier reunions, but from the perspective of African Americans, the history and heritage that they see is hate, suppression and white supremacy, says Goldfield, and the historical record supports that. "On the other hand, there are white southerners who trace their ancestors back to the Civil War and want to fly the flag for their great-grandfather who fought under it and died under it." And for them, it genuinely has nothing to do with racism. However, he thinks they should respect the fact it does cause offence and not fly it in public. The flag wasn't a major symbol until the Civil Rights movement began to take shape in the 1950s, says Bill Ferris, founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, It was a battle flag relegated to history but the Ku Klux Klan and others who resisted desegregation turned to the flag as a symbol.  He likens it to the swastika but others see it very differently. bSince attempts by campaigners in the 1990s to remove the flags from public buildings, he thinks the issue has died down in the US. In 2001, Georgia changed the 45-year-old design of its state flag after pressure to remove the Confederate symbol. Although the number of incidents is diminishing it's not going away, he says, because it just takes a couple of well-publicised episodes to get it back on people's radars, and feelings inflamed. The South, he says, needs a new emblem to reflect its changing character.

^  I have written about this for a long time and my feelings haven't changed. Whether the Confederate Flag was used as a symbol of slavery during the Civil War or not it was used by the South in it's campaign to keep the Blacks and other minorities down during the time of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. The Confederate flag is one the same level as: the Swastika and the Communist Hammer and Sickle and should not be legal to own or fly. There's a saying that history is written by the victors. Well, the North won the Civil War (just like the US won World War 2 and the Cold War) and so all those oppressive symbols should be banned. I lived in Virginia (it was the worst place I have ever lived in both the US and around the world) and they openly support the racist symbols of the Confederacy. For those that are watching Big Brother this season I'm sure they "liked" Aaryn's excuse that she is from Texas (a Southern state and formerly part of the Confederacy) and so she was only making racist comments as a joke. Call it what you want, but racism is racism whether it is done by Whites, Blacks or as a joke. There was a road that non-Southerners called "Route 1" why Southerners called "Jefferson Davis Highway"  - the so-called president of the Confederacy. It is not surprising that it is like that as Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy - until we burn Richmond to the ground and then won the war. If people if the South really want to stop the hateful stereotypes then they need to make a clean-break from everything and anything related to the Confederacy or Jim Crow. Until they do that as a region then non-Southerners will continue to see them as backward racists. ^

Thursday, August 29, 2013

English Moscow Cops

From MT: 
"Cops Offered Bonuses for Speaking Foreign Languages"

Police chiefs are rolling out incentives and opportunities for cops on the Red Square beat to study English, a skill that will certainly win applause from the hordes of tourists that throng the area. Police officers patrolling the square and Moscow's other pedestrian areas will receive additional pay if they can master phrases in English, Moscow City police chief Anatoly Yakunin said Thursday. "It's our principled position, and we will definitely do this in the course of the year," he said, Interfax reported. Yakunin said the opportunity to develop multilingual police officers appeared after acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin allotted a separate budget for police bonuses in a decree Tuesday. The city police force is on the lookout for English-speaking officers to staff the downtown precincts, Yakunin said. It is also considering offering language courses. "It's a must that we post officers who speak foreign languages to the central district's pedestrian areas in the span of a year," he said.

^ This only makes sense considering that most other Russians don't speak English (or any foreign language) and most non-Russians don't speak Russians. If they can find people who can speak English then they should pay them extra - I had a hard time doing so even in tourist places like airports, train stations and information booths. ^

Legal Pot

From Yahoo:
"U.S. allows states to legalize recreational marijuana within limits"

In a move marijuana advocates hailed as a historic shift, the Obama administration on Thursday began giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization and started by letting Colorado and Washington carry out new laws permitting recreational use. The Justice Department said it would refocus marijuana enforcement nationwide by bringing criminal charges only in eight defined areas - such as distribution to minors - and giving breathing room to users, growers and related businesses that have feared prosecution. The decisions end nearly a year of deliberation inside President Barack Obama's administration about how to react to the growing movement for relaxed U.S. marijuana laws. Advocates for legalization welcomed the announcement as a major step toward ending what they called "marijuana prohibition." The leeway for the states will go only so far, though, if Colorado, Washington or other states show they are unable to control the drug, the Justice Department said in a statement. Forty-two percent of Americans age 12 or older have used marijuana at some point, according to a 2011 survey by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Obama has said he used marijuana when he was young.

 ^ I think pot should only be legal for medical uses and the Federal Government should allow it only in those situations. ^

Ft Hood Shooter

From the BBC:
"Nidal Hasan gets death penalty for Fort Hood rampage"

A military jury has sentenced a former US Army psychiatrist to die by lethal injection for killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 at a Texas Army base. Maj Nidal Hasan, 42, was convicted last week of the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood. The defendant had tried to admit his guilt but military law bans guilty pleas in death penalty cases. The Virginia-born Muslim said he opened fire to protect Taliban insurgents from troops about to deploy to Afghanistan.  The jury handed down its sentence after two hours of deliberations on Wednesday. But it could be years, possibly decades, before Maj Hasan is executed because of the long appeals process in the military justice system. His execution must eventually be authorised by the president.

^ Good riddance to pure trash. People who join the military since 1973 (when it became all-volunteer) have no excuse to being deployed. No one forced them to join. They may not agree with a battle or war, but they signed-up knowing they could fight - hence the military part. This guy is a disgusting example of what an American soldier is not and I hope they fry him. ^

Cast A Giant Shadow (1966)

I came across this movie by accident and am really glad that I did. It is a great movie. It is the kind of war movie that you have to love: great fight scenes, famous cast, based on a true story and transcends a time or group of people. Kirk Douglas plays the main character : Mickey Marcus. Angie Dickinson plays his wife, Emma. Yul Brynner, Senta Berger, Topol,  Frank Sinatra and John Wayne  help round out the star-studded cast. Marcus was a real person. An American who served his country bravely and proudly during World War 2 and made a name for himself. He then went to help the Jews in Palestine as they prepared for the Arab invasions and battles in the newly-formed Israel. He used his West Point training and his bravery to mold the civilians - some just off the boats  - into what would become the Israel Defense Forces. His work along with the dedication of ordinary men, women and children to fight (with their bare hands if needed) stopped the Arabs from taking Israel and murdering them all - which is what the countries that fought (and continue to fight) Israel call for. The fact that Marcus was an American and that the US was the first nation to recognize Israel shows how strong the relationship is between our two countries. While other nations openly support those that call for the destruction of Israel and the Jews the US-Israeli bond has only grown stronger over the decades. No nation who every attacked Israel since 1948 has won and I do not believe that any ever will. The Israelis know that while the Arabs and Muslims that fight them can loose many wars and continue on as a people if Israel loses just one war it will be the end of 60 + years.
This movie is universal. You do not have to be Israeli or Jewish (I'm not) to see and appreciate its message: good people can not stand by and watch bad things happen. You have to help in whatever way you can. Also any country that has been constantly attacked (invasions, battles, wars, suicide bombs and missiles) during the past 65 years and yet continues to remain the sole democracy in the Middle East and not only respects the freedoms that the rest of the world does but also thrives proves that Israel and the Jews are a strong force that deserve the respect and support of other democracies.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50 Years: Dream

From the BBC:
"Obama: Economic equality is our great unfinished business"

US President Barack Obama has linked the ongoing struggle for economic equality in America with the goals of the 1963 March on Washington, in a speech marking its 50th anniversary. Mr Obama, the first black US president, said ensuring economic opportunity was "our great unfinished business".
Members of the King family and veterans of the march also spoke. Mr Obama gave his address at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC almost 50 years to the minute after Martin Luther King Jr culminated the march with his celebrated I Have a Dream speech. Mr Obama began by honouring King, as well as the many African-American and white marchers who descended on Washington to protest for civil rights 50 years ago.  But he said the 1963 march "teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history, that we are masters of our fate". Mr Obama was joined on the stage by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, who also spoke. Former President George W Bush, who is recovering from a heart procedure, sent a message of support.
^ Any person who is President at any major anniversary likes to take the credit for what others have done Obama is no different here. I think it was Morgan Freeman who said that Obama is not the first Black President, but the first half-White, half-Black President and that he was raised solely by his White mother and her White parents. Regardless, what race Obama is the main point today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech and how things have changed (and how they haven't) in the past 50 years. Racism is still everywhere in the country. Every race discriminates against other races. It has just moved below the surface. 50 years ago there were public signs, burning crosses, etc to show your dislike for anther group of people and today it is more hidden, but still there. ^

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Shirts, No Disabled!

From the WMUR:
"Veteran says diner owner kicked him, service dog out"

James Glaser, of Gardnerville, Nev., brings his dog, Jack, everywhere.   "At night when I start having night sweats and tremors and nightmares, he'll actually jump on top of me and wake me up and give me kisses and hugs," he told WCVB. Glaser suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after two stints in Iraq with the Air Force. Jack, a 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, is his service dog, trained and certified to help Glaser get through attacks. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, because Jack serves such a vital function, Glaser is supposed to be allowed to take him just about anywhere.
But when the two, along with Glaser's wife, walked into Oxford's Big I's Diner on Saturday morning, they were quickly shown the door. "I hear, 'Get that (expletive) fake service dog out of here,'" Glaser recalled the owner, Russell Ireland, shouting at him. Glaser argued with the owner and showed him Jack's certification papers -- to no avail. "He says he doesn't give a righteous whatever, and him or I are not welcome back in his restaurant," Glaser said. Even the Oxford police showed up and explained to Ireland that Jack is a service dog for a disabled veteran. "I told him, as well as the other officer, that, 'We do believe you're wrong, that Mr. Glaser should be able to come in with his service dog,'" Sgt. Anthony Saad told WCVB of his conversation Saturday morning with Ireland. "He still maintained his position."Saad had to inform Glaser, his wife and Jack that the owner wanted them off the property.  Glaser hasn't forgotten. He sent a letter Monday to the ADA offices in Washington, D.C., asking them to look into the case and to fine Big I's for discrimination. In the meantime, he's organizing a boycott of the restaurant. "As far as I'm concerned, I don't want him to get a single cent from anybody in these United States," Glaser said. Ireland talked with reporters outside Big I's Monday afternoon. He apologized to any veterans he offended. "I have nothing against veterans at all. They're the backbone of the country. It's what makes us the United States," he said. He also apologized to Glaser specifically, admitting he handled the situation poorly. But he stopped short of saying he'd allow Glaser and Jack back in. Ireland said he had seen the two in the restaurant before, though he wasn't aware of Jack's status as a service dog, and felt it was bad business to have a dog in a restaurant. "Do you need it to help you get to the bathroom? By all means. Do you need to cuddle it and sneak it a piece of sausage? No, I'd rather not have it in my place," he argued. Big I's has received hundreds of threatening phone calls in the last two days, according to Ireland, including one in which the caller threatened to burn the building down with the workers inside. Glaser, for his part, said any such threats are unacceptable

^ This is a disgrace. Not only does it put a slap against the faces of  all the disabled in general, but also all the men and women who fought and became disabled. I wish the police had the power in these circumstances to shut-down a business that broke the law rather than have to take it to court and wait years. If you have proof that you are disabled and that your dog/animal is trained to help you then you should be able to go anywhere you want to - just like everyone else. Glaser has it right in starting a boycott on Ireland and his business. Making threats on someone who breaks the law is pointless and can get you in trouble with the law yourself, but taking a non-violent stand and taking a person's livelihood away is a much better and bigger statement of doing what is right. I hope people in and around Oxford stop spending their money in the diner and turn their backs on Ireland. I also hope Glaser gets a court case against Ireland and wins  - maybe that will shut not only Ireland's diner, but also his disgusting mouth. ^


Syria - Serious!

From the Globe and Mail:
"If Syria is attacked, don’t expect a big Canadian role"

 With the apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has crossed Barack Obama’s red line. There is now renewed discussion of the possibility of Western intervention. With a Russian veto certain at the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Obama’s staff is looking at the Kosovo example to see how to get as much international support and legitimacy for any military options.  Hitting Syria with cruise missiles is relatively cost-free (even in a time of sequestration). But it would be kabuki theater, as the missiles would do some minimal damage but not make a difference on the ground. It might satisfy demands to “do something,” but maybe not even that. There is some discussion of a no-fly zone – an option that would theoretically not allow us to avoid using ground troops, as we did in Libya – but people are confusing what really happened in Libya with a no-fly zone. Sure, NATO stopped Libya from flying its planes and helicopters, but it did far more than that. Its stance of “protecting civilians” really meant taking the side of the rebels against Moammar Gadhafi and becoming the source of close air support that any land force would want and need. In Syria, a no-fly zone on its own would not make that much impact since Mr. Assad could still rely on missiles and artillery to do significant damage to his opposition and to the civilians. A Libyan-type operation faces a key constraint: the Syrian opposition is deeply divided and much of it hostile to the West, so taking sides is really hard. The use of ground forces would be necessary to secure the chemical weapons and probably to remove Mr. Assad. Yet most countries are unlikely to take that kind of risk and pay that kind of price after several wars and a 5-year period of austerity.
We not only face some huge questions about how to respond to the Syrian use of chemical weapons, but about who will be joining the United States. If we are to learn from the 1999 Kosovo action (aside from how to act in concert without a United Nations resolution) and from Libya, the first lesson is that getting a NATO decision is really difficult, and that even when you reach consensus in NATO’s Brussels headquarters, that does not mean that everyone will contribute. Previous efforts to help Syria’s neighbour Turkey (a NATO member), which is how a NATO decision would be justified, have often foundered on the sad reality that many NATO countries are fairly antagonistic towards Turkey. France and the United Kingdom might be likely to join such an effort because of historic interests in the region, large immigrant communities with ties to those being harmed. While both are in the middle of significant austerity-induced military cuts, they still have the capabilities to help out. Germany is far less likely to join in despite still having a fairly robust (in European terms) military. Germany opted out of Libya, which had far fewer risks, so it is hard to see how German leaders would be more enthusiastic about a more complex Syrian mission. Also, Germany has elections coming up. Poland, which ducked out of the Libyan effort but did operate in dangerous places in Afghanistan, apparently is more willing to participate here. So, when the question turns to what will Canada do, it is hard to believe that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be as enthusiastic this time as he was two years ago. The probability of success is low. The Libyan mission should remind people that these efforts take much time and money. Given that the budget situation back in Ottawa is still quite tight, and Mr. Harper’s focus has been on putting the military back in the background as the 2015 election approaches, it is not clear why the Prime Minister would decide that Canada will make a meaningful contribution. However, there is a wild card in the Canadian outlook. Mr. Harper’s enthusiasm for Israel and antipathy towards Iran are both well known. Given that Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian militia, has sided with Mr. Assad, it might be the case that Syria is viewed through the same lens that led to Canada’s closing of its embassy in Tehran and of Iran’s embassy in Ottawa. Another added layer of complexity is that many of the forces arrayed against Mr. Assad within Syria are hostile to Israel and to the West, so it is not clear what would be best for Israel, except perhaps a stalemate. Would the West be so cynical as to do just enough to keep the civil war going? Would Mr. Harper support such an effort? It is not clear, but with a majority in parliament, the Prime Minister has a far freer hand now than he did when the Libyan effort started. Would it harm relations with the United States to stay out of it? Probably not. Given Mr. Obama’s ambivalence, it is hard to see how anyone in the U.S. would mind other countries being less enthusiastic. Moreover, Mr. Obama’s diplomacy would be focused on Russia, China and Europe. Finally, Canada would not be alone, no matter which course of action it follows, as some NATO members will participate, some will opt out, and others will contribute in a most token way. Mr. Harper has surprised people before, with the sudden announcements of the Afghanistan training mission and the military assistance to France in Mali last year. So predicting what he will do next can be a foolish enterprise, but if I had to bet, I would put my money on Canada not taking a substantial part in the upcoming effort against Syria.

^ I saw this article and thought to myself: "So much for Never Again." Countries and people from the 1940s on keep screaming that we will never allow a massacre of innocent civilians take place like it did during World War 2. Like in past conflicts (Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan, etc) that cry has gone un-noticed and the killings happened. Many people say those conflicts were civil wars and so is Syria so we shouldn't get involved. The civil war stopped in Syria when the Government there used chemical weapons to attack its citizens. Now it seems that the US and possibly France and the UK will take a stand (I'm sure Isrcouael would too, but like the 1991 Iraq War we are probably asking them to take a step-back so it doesn't anger the Arab/Muslim World.) If the rebels (as the Syrian Government claims) used the chemical weapons on themselves or on civilians then why didn't the Syrian Government allow inspectors to come in right away instead of covering up the attacks? It doesn't matter if 1 or 1,000 people were killed with the chemicals. Once that weapon was used it opened Pandora's Box and the conflict went from a civil war to a war that every, civilized nation needs to support in some way. Most countries probably won't do much (if anything) militarily. They usually only talk big and have nothing to support their talk. It doesn't surprise me that Russia is still siding with the Syrian Government (they did the same with Libya until the "rebels" won and then hey changed sides quickly.) Russia tends to side with dictatorships that use awful measures to kill its own people just like the USSR did. I did see a Russian official on the TV basically saying that the only thing Russia has to use in the Syrian question is talk because their military isn't up to the challenge. Regardless, every country around the world has a duty to side against any country that uses chemical or nuclear weapons against its own people. As usual, the US is taking the lead because we tend to stand-up and follow our words with action while the rest of the world sits on its hands and talks. I don't personally care one way or the other about Syria - I have no desire to every go there - even before the war - but the point is: talk is just that and when one side not only goes against your talk, but uses dangerous weapons than the time for talk is over. That is the true sign of a great nation - hoping diplomacy and sanctions work, but if they don't then not being against using force. ^


Canadians In Space

From the Globe and Mail:
"Canada could send first astronaut to the moon within two decades"

Canada could be sending its first astronaut to the moon under an ambitious long-term plan being developed by a group of space agencies around the world. A return to the moon within the next two decades is part of the recently updated Global Exploration Roadmap – a far-reaching plan developed by more than a dozen space agencies. Canada is among the 14 space agencies participating in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, which first started developing the strategy in 2007. An early phase of the plan would put a new space station into orbit around the moon, and use it as a staging point to ferry astronauts back and forth. It’s part of a roadmap that lays out human and robotic missions in the solar system over the next 25 years, with the other components including a moon settlement and a proposal by NASA to capture a near-Earth asteroid. Jean-Claude Piedboeuf, the director of space-exploration development at the Canadian Space Agency, says there’s an agreement among space agencies that returning to the moon is a stepping stone to a more distant target: Mars. There would be human missions in the lunar vicinity and on its surface until 2030, at which point sights would be set on the red planet. The CSA official suggested astronauts could again be moon-bound in about 15 years. It would be the first human visit to the shining orb since 1972, when NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt spent 75 hours there. This time, there could well be Canadian visitors. “We’re proposing a vision where Canada could have an astronaut, effectively a Canadian who will be in lunar space, either in orbit or on the moon and could operate a Canadian rover in the same way that Canadians operate a Canadarm on the space station,” Mr. Piedboeuf said. Canada is working to get one of its two active astronauts, David Saint-Jacques or Jeremy Hansen, to visit the space station between 2016 and 2019. The plan would see a small human settlement established on the moon. Astronauts could use it to mine lunar resources, while also learning how to survive away from Earth. The scenario proposes the use of a “Deep Space Habitat,” which would serve as a staging post. The habitat, a sort of mini-space station, could be placed at a so-called Lagrange point near the moon. Lagrange points are locations where gravity balances itself out and where a space station could theoretically be stationary. The recent retirement of the U.S. shuttle program was a critical moment – the end of one era, and the start of the next one described in the Global Exploration Roadmap. Now the Americans and Russians are developing long-range rockets and space capsules, like NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will be used to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. But it’s unclear whether the way to Mars will actually be led by national space agencies – like NASA, the CSA, the European Space Agency, and the Russian, Japanese, Indian and South Korean agencies.

^ I guess it is good that Canada wants to make a name for itself (for once) with regards to space since up to now it has been the Soviets/Russians and the Americans making all the headlines. ^

Sunday, August 25, 2013

History Of US' Disabled

From Wikipedia:
"Timeline of disability rights in the United States"

19th century:


1900 - 1969:

  • 1918 - The Smith-Sears Veterans Rehabilitation Act became law, and provided for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from the U.S. military.
  • 1935 - The League for the Physically Handicapped in New York City was formed to protest discrimination by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Home Relief Bureau of New York City stamped all applications with “PH” which stood for "physically handicapped." Members of the League held a sit-in at the Home Relief Bureau for nine days and a weekend sit-in at the WPA headquarters. These actions eventually led to the creation of 1,500 jobs in New York City.
  • 1935 - The Social Security Act became U.S. law, and provided federally funded old-age benefits and funds to states for assistance to blind individuals and disabled children. The Act also extended existing vocational rehabilitation programs.
  • 1936 - The Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S.C. § 107 et seq., a federal law which mandates a priority to blind persons to operate vending facilities on federal property, became law in the U.S. It was amended and updated significantly in 1974.
  • 1940 - The National Federation of the Blind was formed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, by Jacobus Broek and others. They advocated for white cane laws, input by blind people for programs for blind clients and other reforms.
  • 1940 - The American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, founded in 1940 by Paul Strachan, was the first cross-disability national (American) political organization to urge an end to job discrimination, lobby for passage of related legislation, and call for a National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week, as well as other initiatives.
  • 1943 - The LaFollette-Barden Vocational Rehabilitation Act became law in the U.S., and it added physical rehabilitation to the goals of federally funded vocational rehabilitation programs and provided funding for certain care services.
  • 1945 - PL-176 became law in the U.S., and it declared the first week in October each year would be National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962 the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month (October) and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month."
  • 1946 - The Hill-Burton Act (also known as the Hospital Survey and Construction Act) became law in the U.S., and it authorized federal grants to states for the construction of hospitals, public centers and health facilities for rehabilitation of people with disabilities.[1]
  • 1946 - The National Mental Health Foundation was founded by American conscientious objectors from WWII who served as attendants at state mental institutions rather than serving in the war. The Foundation exposed the abusive conditions at these facilities and became an impetus toward deinstitutionalization.
  • 1947 - The President’s Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week was held in Washington, D.C. Publicity campaigns, coordinated by state and local committees, emphasized the competence of people with disabilities and used movie trailers, billboards, radio and television ads to convince the public that it was good business to hire the handicapped.
  • 1947 - The Paralyzed Veterans of America organization was created.
  • 1948 - The National Paraplegia Foundation, founded by members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America as the civilian arm of their growing movement, took a leading role in advocating for disability rights.
  • 1948 - The University of Illinois at Galesburg disabled students’ program was officially founded, and was directed by Timothy Nugent. The program moved to the campus at Urbana-Champaign where it became a prototype for disabled student programs and independent living centers across the country.
  • 1948 - We Are Not Alone (WANA), a mental patients’ self-help group, was organized at the Rockland State Hospital in New York City.
  • 1950 - Mary Switzer was appointed the Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, where she emphasized independent living as a quality of life issue.
  • 1950 - Social Security Amendments established a federal-state program to aid permanently and totally disabled persons in America.
  • 1953 - The (American) President’s Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week became the President’s Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, a permanent organization reporting to the President and Congress.
  • 1954 - Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments were passed that authorized federal grants to expand programs available to people with physical disabilities in America.
  • 1954 - Mary Switzer, Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, authorized funds for more than 100 university-based rehabilitation-related programs.
  • 1954 - The (American) Social Security Act of 1935 was amended by PL 83-761 to include a freeze provision for workers who were forced by disability to leave the workforce. This protected their benefits by freezing their retirement benefits at their pre-disability level.
  • 1956 - The Social Security Amendments of 1956 created the Social Security Disability (SSDI) program for disabled workers aged 50 to 64 in America.
  • 1958 - The Social Security Amendments of 1958 extended Social Security Disability benefits to dependents of disabled workers in America.
  • 1958 - PL 85-905, which authorized loan services for captioned films for the deaf, became law in the U.S.
  • 1958 - PL 85-926, which provided federal support for training teachers for children with mental retardation, became law in the U.S.
  • 1958 - The Rehabilitation Gazette (formerly known as the Toomeyville Gazette), edited by Gini Laurie, was founded. It was an American grassroots publication which became an early voice for disability rights, independent living, and cross-disability organizing. It featured articles by writers with disabilities.
  • 1960 - The (American) National Association for Down Syndrome (originally incorporated as the Mongoloid Development Council), the oldest Down Syndrome parent organization in the States, was founded by Kathryn McGee, whose daughter Tricia had Down Syndrome.
  • 1960 - The (American) Social Security Amendments of 1960 eliminated the restriction that disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability benefits must be 50 or older.
  • 1961 - U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed a President’s Panel on Mental Retardation.
  • 1961 - The American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) published American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped (the A117.1 Barrier Free Standard). This landmark document, produced by the University of Illinois, became the basis for subsequent architectural access codes.
  • 1962 - The (American) President’s Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped was renamed the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, reflecting increased interest in employment issues affecting people with cognitive disabilities and mental illness.
  • 1962 - Edward Roberts successfully sued to gain admission to the University of California, Berkeley, making him the first student with severe disabilities to attend that school.
  • 1963 - Public Law 88-164, also called the Community Mental Health Act, became law in the U.S., and it authorized funding for developmental research centers in university affiliated facilities and community facilities for people with mental retardation; it was the first federal law directed to help people with developmental disabilities.
  • 1963 - U.S. President John F. Kennedy called for a reduction “over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined” to residential institutions and asked that methods be found “to retain in and return to the community the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and thereto restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services.” This resulted in deinstitutionalization and increased community services.
  • 1963 - South Carolina passed the first statewide architectural access code in America.
  • 1965 - Medicare and Medicaid were established through passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, providing federally subsidized health care to disabled and elderly Americans covered by the Social Security program. These amendments changed the definition of disability under Social Security Disability program from “of long continued and indefinite duration” to “expected to last for not less than 12 months.”
  • 1965 -The (American) Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments of 1965 were passed authorizing federal funds for construction of rehabilitation centers, expansion of existing vocational rehabilitation programs and the creation of the National Commission on Architectural Barriers to Rehabilitation of the Handicapped.
  • 1965 - The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, was established by the U.S. Congress.
  • 1965 - The Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law in the U.S., and in addition to providing sweeping protections for minority voting rights, it allowed those with various disabilities to receive assistance "by a person of the voter's choice", as long as that person was not the disabled voter's boss or union agent.
  • 1966 - The President’s Committee on Mental Retardation was established by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • 1966 - "Christmas in Purgatory," by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, was published; it documented conditions at American state institutions for people with developmental disabilities.
  • 1967 - The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, often abbreviated LPS, (Cal. Welf & Inst. Code, sec. 5000 et seq.) was signed into law by then-governor of California Ronald Reagan (although it only went into full effect on July 1, 1972.) The Act in effect ended all hospital commitments by the judiciary system in California, except in the case of criminal sentencing, e.g., convicted sexual offenders, and those who are "gravely disabled", defined as unable to obtain food, clothing, or housing [Conservatorship of Susan T., 8 Cal. 4th 1005 (1994)]. It did not, however, impede the right of voluntary commitment. It also expanded the evaluative power of psychiatrists and created provisions and criteria for holds. This Act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States.
  • 1968 - The Architectural Barriers Act became law in the U.S., and required all federally owned or leased buildings to be accessible to disabled people.
  • 1968 - The California legislature guaranteed that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) would be the first rapid transit system in the U.S. to accommodate wheelchair users.
  • 1969: Wolf Wolfensberger's seminal work "The Origin and Nature of Our Institutional Models" was published.  This book posited that society characterizes people with disabilities as deviant, sub-human and burdens of charity, resulting in the adoption of that "deviant" role.


  • 1970 - The Urban Mass Transportation Act became law, and it required all new American mass transit vehicles be equipped with wheelchair lifts. APTA delayed implementation for 20 years. Regulations were finally issued in 1990.
  • 1970 - Disabled in Action was founded by Judith Heumann and others in New York City. A number of chapters were also started in various other American cities.
  • 1970 - The Rolling Quads organization was started by Edward Roberts at UC Berkeley in California.
  • 1970 - Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments became law in the U.S. These Amendments contained the first legal definition of developmental disabilities. They also authorized grants for services and facilities for the rehabilitation of people with developmental disabilities and state DD Councils.
  • 1970 - The (American) Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP) was founded by Edward Roberts, John Hessler, Hale Zukas, and others at UC Berkeley. With its focus on community living, political advocacy and personal assistance services, it became the nucleus for the first Center for Independent Living, founded in 1972.
  • 1971 - The American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) published American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped (the A117.1 Barrier Free Standard). This landmark document, produced by the University of Illinois, became the basis for subsequent architectural access codes.
  • 1971 - The National Center for Law and the Handicapped was founded at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. It became the first legal advocacy center for people with disabilities in the U. S.
  • 1971 - The U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama, decided in Wyatt v. Stickney that people in residential state schools and institutions had a constitutional right “to receive such individual treatment as (would) give them a realistic opportunity to be cured or to improve his or her mental condition.” Disabled people were no longer to be locked away in custodial institutions without treatment or education.
  • 1971 - The Mental Patients’ Liberation Project was initiated in New York City.
  • 1971 - The (American) Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 was amended to bring people with disabilities (other than blindness) into the sheltered workshop system.
  • 1971 - In Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 334 F. Supp. 1257 (E.D. Pa. 1971) the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that it was the obligation of the state of Pennsylvania to provide free public education to mentally retarded children, which it was not doing at that time. This decision struck down various state laws used to exclude disabled children from the public schools. Advocates cited this decision during public hearings that led to the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
  • 1972 - Disability activists in Washington, D.C., protested President Nixon’s veto of what is now known as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • 1972 - The Center for Independent Living was established by Edward Roberts and associates in Berkeley, California. It was established with funds from the Rehabilitation Administration, and it is recognized as the first center for independent living. This sparked the Independent Living Movement.
  • 1972 - In Mills v. Board of Education the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia decided that every child, regardless of the type and severity of their disability, was entitled to a free public education.
  • 1972 - The (American) Social Security Amendments of 1972 created the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The law relieved families of the financial responsibility of caring for their adult disabled children.
  • 1972 - The Houston Cooperative Living Residential Project was established in Houston, Texas. It became a model for subsequent independent living programs.
  • 1972 - The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, founded in Washington, D.C., provided legal representation and advocated for the rights of people with mental illness.
  • 1972 - The Legal Action Center (Washington, D.C. and New York City) was founded to advocate for the interests of people with alcohol or drug dependencies and for people with HIV/AIDS.
  • 1972 - Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Paraplegia Foundation, and Richard Heddinger filed suit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, asking them to incorporate accessibility into their design for a new, multibillion-dollar subway system in Washington, D.C. Their victory was a landmark in the struggle for accessible public mass transit.
  • 1972 - The Network Against Psychiatric Assault was organized in San Francisco.
  • 1972 - In New York ARC v. Rockefeller, parents of 5,000 residents at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York, filed suit over the inhumane living conditions at that institution, where residents were abused and neglected. A 1972 television broadcast from the Willowbrook State School, titled "Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace," outraged the general public. However, it took 3 years from the time the lawsuit documents were filed before the consent judgement was signed. In 1975, the consent judgement was signed, and it committed New York state to improve community placement for the now designated "Willowbrook Class." The Willowbrook State School was closed in 1987, and all but about 150 of the former Willowbrook residents were moved to group homes by 1992.
  • 1972 - Disabled in Action demonstrated in New York City, protesting President Nixon’s veto of the Rehabilitation Act. Led by Judith Heumann, eighty activists staged a sit-in on Madison Avenue, stopping traffic. A flood of letters and protest calls were made.
  • 1972 - Demonstrations were held by disabled activists in Washington, D.C. to protest Nixon’s veto of the Rehabilitation Act. Among the demonstrators were Disabled in Action, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Paraplegia Foundation, and others.
  • 1972 - The Commonwealth of Virginia ceased its sterilization program. 8,300 individuals never received justice regarding their sterilizations, which they did not consent to.
  • 1972 - In Jackson v. Indiana, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person adjudicated incompetent could not be indefinitely committed.
  • 1973 - The (American) Rehabilitation Act of 1973 became law; Sections 501, 503, and 504 prohibited discrimination in federal programs and services and all other programs or services receiving federal funds. Key language in the Rehabilitation Act, found in Section 504, states “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, shall, solely by reason of his [sic] handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
  • 1973 - Handicapped parking stickers were introduced in Washington, D.C.
  • 1973 - The first Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression was held at the University of Detroit.
  • 1973 - The (American) Federal-Aid Highway Act authorized federal funds for construction of curb cuts.
  • 1973 - The (American) Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, established under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, enforced the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
  • 1973 - The (American) Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities advocated for passage of what became the Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
  • 1974 - The Disabled Women's Coalition was founded at the University of California, Berkeley, by Susan Sygall, Deborah Kaplan, Kitty Cone, Corbett O'Toole, and Susan Shapiro.
  • 1974 - Indiana repealed all laws concerning sterilization of the mentally ill in 1974.
  • 1974 - Although the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case that the state of Virginia could sterilize those it thought unfit, Virginia repealed its sterilization law in 1974.
  • 1974 - The Atlantis Community of Denver, Colorado, was founded by Wade Blank, who relocated adults with severe disabilities from nursing homes to apartments.
  • 1974 - The Boston Center for Independent Living was established.
  • 1974 - Halderman v. Pennhurst, filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of the residents of the Pennhurst State School and Hospital, highlighted conditions at state schools for people with mental retardation. It became a precedent in the battle for deinstitutionalization, establishing a right to community services for people with developmental disabilities.
  • 1974 - The first (American) Client Assistant Project (CAP) was established to advocate for clients of state vocational rehabilitation agencies.
  • 1974 - North Carolina passed a statewide building code with stringent access requirements. Drafted by access advocate Ronald Mace, the code became a model for effective architectural access legislation in other states.
  • 1974 - Barrier Free Environments, founded by Ronald Mace, advocated for accessibility in American buildings and products.
  • 1975 - The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, PL 94-142, (renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990) became law in the U.S., and it declared that handicapped children could not be excluded from public school because of their disability, and that school districts were required to provide special services to meet the needs of handicapped children. The law also required that handicapped children be taught in a setting that resembles as closely as possible the regular school program, while also meeting their special needs.
  • 1975 - The Developmental Disability Bill of Rights Act became law in the U.S., and it established protection and advocacy (P & A) services.
  • 1975 - The Community Services Act became law in the U.S., and it created the Head Start Program. It stipulated that at least 10% of program openings were to be reserved for disabled children.
  • 1975 - The Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act became law in the U.S., and it provided federal funds to programs serving people with developmental disabilities and outlined a series of rights for those who are institutionalized.
  • 1975 - The American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities was founded in Washington, D.C.. It became the leading national cross-disability rights organization of the 1970s.
  • 1975 - The (American) Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH) was founded by special education professionals in response to PARC v. Pennsylvania (1971) and other right-to-education cases. This organization called for the end of aversive behavior modification and the closing of all residential institutions for people with disabilities.
  • 1975 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975)) that a state cannot constitutionally confine, without more, a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends, and since the previous jury found, upon ample evidence, that petitioner did so confine respondent, it properly concluded that petitioner had violated respondent's right to liberty.
  • 1975 - (American) Parent and Training Information Centers were developed to help parents of children with disabilities exercise their rights under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
  • 1975 - Edward Roberts was appointed Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation. He established nine independent living centers based on the Berkeley CIL model.
  • 1975 - The Western Center on Law and the Handicapped was founded in Los Angeles.
  • 1976 - The (American) Higher Education Act of 1972 amendment provided services to physically disabled students entering college.
  • 1976 - Centers for independent living were established in Houston and Chicago.
  • 1976 - The (American) Federal Communications Commission authorized reserving Line 21 on televisions for closed captions.
  • 1976 - Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, Inc. v. Coleman was known as the Transbus lawsuit. Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, the American Coalition of Cerebral Palsy Associations and others were represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. They successfully filed suit to require that all buses purchased by public transit authorities receiving federal funds meet Transbus specifications (making them wheelchair accessible).
  • 1976 - Celestine Tate Harrington, a street musician with quadriplegia, won the right to parent her daughter Nia, having proved to a judge that she could take care of Nia and therefore should not have to give her to the Philadelphia Department of Public Welfare because of her quadriplegia.
  • 1976 - Disabled in Action, New York City, picketed the United Cerebral Palsy telethon, calling telethons “demeaning and paternalistic shows which celebrate and encourage pity.”
  • 1976 - The Disability Rights Center was founded in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law, it specialized in consumer protection for people with disabilities.
  • 1976 - The Westside Center for Independent Living, Los Angeles, was one of the first nine independent living centers established by Edward Roberts, Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation.
  • 1976 - James L. Cherry and several members of the Action League for Physically Handicapped Adults (ALPHA) filed a lawsuit, known as Cherry v. Mathews, which was decided in their favor on July 19, 1976. U. S. District Court Judge John Lewis Smith ruled for them and ordered DHEW (the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare) to develop the Section 504 regulation to prohibit discrimination against "handicapped persons" in any federally funded program. In January, 1977, Mathews (then the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare) refused to sign the prepared regulation, and James Cherry and his co-plaintiffs went back to the U. S. District Court, where Mathews was held in contempt of court for refusing to follow the Cherry court order. Mathews was soon replaced by Joseph Califano due to Jimmy Carter being sworn in as President (see next entry in this timeline).
  • 1977 - Initially Joseph Califano, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, refused to sign meaningful regulations for Section 504. After an ultimatum and deadline, demonstrations took place in ten U.S. cities on April 5, 1977. The sit-in at the San Francisco Office of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, led by Judith Heumann, lasted until May 1, 1977. More than 150 demonstrators refused to disband. This action became the longest sit-in at a federal building to date. Joseph Califano signed the regulations on April 28, 1977.
  • 1977 - Max Cleland was appointed head of the U.S. Veterans Administration. He was the first severely disabled person and the youngest person to fill that position.
  • 1977 - The White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals drew 3,000 people with disabilities to discuss federal policy toward people with disabilities. It resulted in numerous recommendations and acted as a catalyst for grassroots disability rights organizing.
  • 1977 - The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act (AB 846), also known as the Lanterman Act, is a California law, initially proposed by Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman in 1973 and passed in 1977, that gives people with developmental disabilities the right to services and supports that enable them to live a more independent and normal life. The Lanterman Act declares that persons with developmental disabilities have the same legal rights and responsibilities guaranteed all other persons by federal and state constitutions and laws, and charges the regional center with advocacy for, and protection of, these rights.
  • 1977 - Legal Services Corporation Act Amendments added financially needy people with disabilities to the list of those eligible for publicly funded legal services in America.
  • 1977 - In Lloyd v. Regional Transportation Authority, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit ruled that individuals have a right to sue under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and that public transit authorities must provide accessible service. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in Snowden v. Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority undermined this decision by ruling that authorities need to provide access only to “handicapped persons other than those confined to wheelchairs.”
  • 1978 - Disability rights activists successfully protested the Denver Regional Transit Authority with a year-long civil disobedience campaign because the transit system was inaccessible to people who used wheelchairs.
  • 1978 - The Adaptive Environments Center was founded in Boston.
  • 1978 - Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1978 became law in the U.S., and it established the first federal funding for consumer-controlled independent living centers and created the National Council of the Handicapped under the U.S. Department of Education.
  • 1978 - "On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System", by Judi Chamberlin, was published; it became the standard text of the psychiatric survivor movement.[1]
  • 1978 - In Rennie v. Klein, the Federal District Court of New Jersey ruled that an involuntarily committed individual has a constitutional right to refuse psychotropic medication without a court order.[34]
  • 1978 - The National Center for Law and the Deaf was founded in Washington, D.C.
  • 1978 - Handicapping America, by Frank Bowe, was published; it was a comprehensive review of the policies and attitudes denying equal citizenship to Americans with disabilities. It became a standard text of the disability rights movement.
  • 1979 - Part B funds created ten new centers for independent living across the U.S.
  • 1979 - Vermont Center for Independent Living, the first statewide independent living center in the U.S., was founded by representatives of Vermont disability groups.
  • 1979 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Addington v. Texas raised the burden of proof required to commit persons for psychiatric treatment from the usual civil burden of proof of "preponderance of the evidence" to the higher standard of "clear and convincing" evidence.
  • 1979 - In Southeastern Community College v. Davis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, programs receiving federal funds must make “reasonable modifications” to enable the participation of otherwise qualified disabled individuals. This decision was the Court’s first ruling on Section 504 establishing reasonable modification as an important principle in disability rights law.
  • 1979 - In Rogers v. Okin, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a competent patient committed to a psychiatric hospital has the right to refuse treatment in non-emergency situations.
  • 1979 - The Disability Rights and Education Fund (DREDF) was established in Berkeley, California, and it became America's leading disability rights legal advocacy center. It participated in landmark litigation and lobbying of the 1980s and 1990s.



  • 1990 - The Americans with Disabilities Act became law, and it provided comprehensive civil rights protection for people with disabilities. Closely modeled after the Civil Rights Act and Section 504, the law was the most sweeping disability rights legislation in American history. It mandated that local, state, and federal governments and programs be accessible, that employers with more than 15 employees make “reasonable accommodations” for workers with disabilities and not discriminate against otherwise qualified workers with disabilities, and that public accommodations and commercial facilities make “reasonable modifications” to ensure access for disabled members of the public, and not discriminate against them. The act also mandated access in public transportation and communication.
  • 1990 - Sam Skinner, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, issued regulations mandating lifts on buses.
  • 1990 - Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit (ADAPT) organized the Wheels of Justice campaign in Washington, D.C., which drew hundreds of disabled people to support the Americans with Disabilities Act. Activists occupying the Capitol Rotunda were arrested when they refuse to leave.
  • 1990 - The Committee of Ten Thousand was founded to advocate for Americans with hemophilia who were infected with HIV/AIDS through tainted blood products.
  • 1990 - The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency Act became law in the U.S. It was meant to help communities cope with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
  • 1990 - In Washington v. Harper the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the involuntary medication of correctional facility inmates only under certain conditions as determined by established policy and procedures.
  • 1990 - Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit (ADAPT) changed its focus to advocating for personal assistance services, changing its name to American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT).
  • 1990 - The (American) Education for All Handicapped Children Act was amended and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This Act contains a permanently authorized grant program that provides federal funding to the states; all states that receive these federal funds are required to provide a "free, appropriate public education" to all children with disabilities in the "least restrictive environment."
  • 1992 - Amendments to the (American) Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were infused with the philosophy of independent living.
  • 1992 - In Greer vs. Rome City School District (11th Circuit Court, 1992), the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court stated "Before the school district may conclude that a handicapped child should be educated outside of the regular classroom it must consider whether supplemental aids and services would permit satisfactory education in the regular classroom." The court also said that the district cannot refuse to serve a child because of added cost, and that school officials must share placement considerations with the child's parents at the IEP meeting before a placement is determined.
  • 1992 - In Foucha v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the continued commitment of an insanity acquittee who was not suffering from a mental illness was unconstitutional.
  • 1992 - In Riggins v. Nevada, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a defendant has the right to refuse psychiatric medication which is given to mitigate their psychiatric symptoms while they are on trial.
  • 1993 - The American Indian Disability Legislation Project was established to collect data on Native American disability rights laws and regulations.
  • 1993 - Robert Williams was appointed Commissioner of the (American) Administration on Developmental Disabilities. He was the first developmentally disabled person to be named the Commissioner.
  • 1993 - In Holland v. Sacramento City Unified School District, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the right of disabled children to attend public school classes with non-disabled children. The ruling was a major victory in the ongoing effort to ensure enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • 1993 - 3 men were convicted of sexually assaulting a mentally retarded woman in New Jersey, despite attempts by the prosecution to depict the young woman as an aggressive "Lolita".
  • 1993 - In Roncker v. Walter, 700 F2d. 1058 (6th Circuit Court 1993), the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court addressed the issue of "bringing educational services to the child" versus "bringing the child to the services". The case was resolved in favor of integrated versus segregated placement and established a principle of portability; that is, "if a desirable service currently provided in a segregated setting can feasiblely be delivered in an integrated setting, it would be inappropriate under PL 94-142 to provide the service in a segregated environment." The Roncker Court found that placement decisions must be individually made. School districts that automatically place children in a predetermined type of school solely on the basis of their disability (e.g., mentally retardation) rather than on the basis of the IEP, violate federal laws.
  • 1993 - In Oberti vs. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District (3rd Circuit Court, 1993), the U.S. Third Circuit Court upheld the right of Rafeal Oberti, a boy with Down syndrome, to receive his education in his regular neighborhood school with adequate and necessary supports, placing the burden of proof for compliance with IDEA's mainstreaming requirements on the school district and the state rather than on the family. The federal judge who decided the case endorsed full inclusion, writing "Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few."
  • 1993 - The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 became law in the U.S., and it required states with disabled service agencies to have them act as disabled voter registration agencies as well.
  • 1993 - In the case Mavis v. Sobol, a New York court found school efforts for placement in a regular classroom were inadequate because the school had not provided a behavior management plan or training for staff to help modify the regular curriculum to meet the student's needs.
  • 1995 - Justice for All was organized by Justin Dart and others in Washington, D.C., in order to advocate against calls to amend or repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • 1995 - The American Association of People with Disabilities was founded in Washington, D.C.
  • 1995 - The American film When Billy Broke His Head... and Other Tales of Wonder, by Billy Golfus, premiered on PBS. It highlighted the disability rights movement.
  • 1995 - The U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, ruled in Helen L. v. Snider that continued institutionalization of a disabled Pennsylvania woman, when not medically necessary and where there was the option of home care, was a violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Disability rights advocates perceived this ruling as a landmark decision regarding the rights of people in nursing homes to personal assistance services.
  • 1995 - Sandra Jensen was denied a heart-lung transplant by the Stanford University School of Medicine in California because she had Down syndrome. After pressure from disability rights activists, Stanford U School of Medicine administrators reversed their decision. In 1996, Jensen became the first person with Down syndrome to receive a heart-lung transplant.
  • 1995 - The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) became law in the U.S., and it required all offices in the legislative branch to make their public services, programs, activities, and places of public accommodation accessible to members of the public who have disabilities, as well as declaring that employees of Congress cannot be discriminated against in personnel actions because of a disability.
  • 1996 - The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) became law in the U.S. and it required that large group health plans not impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits that are less favorable than any such limits imposed on medical/surgical benefits.
  • 1996 - Not Dead Yet was formed by American disability rights advocates to oppose those who support assisted suicide for people with disabilities. It focuses on opposing rationing health care to people with severe disabilities and opposing the imposition of “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders for disabled people in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.
  • 1996 - In Vacco v. Quill and Washington v. Glucksberg, the U.S. Supreme Court validated the state prohibition on physician-assisted suicide, deciding that the issue is within the jurisdiction of the states.
  • 1998 - The Veterans Programs Enhancement Act became law in the U.S., and it required a cost-of-living adjustment in rates of compensation paid to veterans with service-connected disabilities, as well as various improvements in education, housing, and cemetery programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • 1998 - The first support group for sexual minorities with developmental disabilities was created in 1998 at the New Haven Gay & Lesbian Community Center in Connecticut.
  • 1998 - The Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-277) became law in the U.S., and it required the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to determine, based on National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports, whether particular illnesses warrant a presumption of service connection and, if so, to set compensation regulations establishing such a connection for each illness.
  • 1998 - In Bragdon v. Abbott, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the definition of disability includes asymptomatic HIV.
  • 1998 - In Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Americans with Disabilities Act includes state prisons.
  • 1998 - President Clinton signs into law the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Amendments, which includes Section 508. Section 508 "requires access to the Federal government's electronic and information technology. The law covers all types of electronic and information technology in the Federal sector and is not limited to assistive technologies used by people with disabilities."
  • 1999 - In Carolyn C. Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corporation, et. al., the U.S. Supreme Court decided that people receiving Social Security disability benefits are protected against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act if and when they are able to return to work.
  • 1999 - In Olmstead v. L.C., the U.S. Supreme Court decided that individuals with mental disabilities must be offered services in the most integrated setting possible.
  • 1999 - The Works Incentives Improvement Act (Ticket to Work) became law in the U.S., allowing those who require health care benefits to work.
  • 1999 - In Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer-supported schools are responsible for the costs of providing continual care for disabled students under a federal law that says all children must receive "free, appropriate public education." Under the Court's reading of the IDEA's relevant provisions, medical treatments such as suctioning, ventilator checks, catheterization, and others which can be administered by non-physician personnel come within the parameters of the special education law's related services.


  • 2001 - The Commonwealth of Virginia House of Delegates approved a resolution expressing regret for its eugenics practices between 1924 and 1979.
  • 2001 - In PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin (00-24) 532 U.S. 661, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by its plain terms, prohibited the PGA from denying Casey Martin equal access to its tours on the basis of his disability (a degenerative circulatory disorder preventing him from walking golf courses) and that allowing Martin to use a golf cart, despite the walking rule, was not a modification that would "fundamentally alter the nature" of the game.
  • 2002 - In Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), the U. S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
  • 2002 - The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) became law in the U.S., and it required voting "systems" to be accessible for all those with disabilities, including special assistance for blind or otherwise visually impaired voters.
  • 2003 - The U.S. Supreme Court decision Sell v. United States imposed stringent limits on the right of a lower court to order the forcible administration of antipsychotic medication to a criminal defendant who had been determined to be incompetent to stand trial for the sole purpose of making them competent and able to be tried.
  • 2003 - In Hornstine v. Township of Moorestown Blair Hornstine, then a high school senior, successfully sued her school district, which had said she was able to get a higher grade point average because she had been home-schooled at times because of an immune-system illness and, as a result, had taken more advanced placement courses and fewer low-rated physical education courses. Arguing that she had the highest grades and should not have to share the top honors in her class, Blair won the right to be sole valedictorian.
  • 2004 - The first Disability Pride Parade in the United States was held in Chicago on Sunday, July 18th, 2004. It was funded with $10,000 in seed money that Sarah Triano received in 2003 as part of the Paul G. Hearne Leadership award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. [68] According to Triano, fifteen hundred people attended the parade. Yoshiko Dart was the parade marshal.
  • 2004 - In Tennessee v. Lane, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act did not violate the sovereign immunity doctrine of the 11th Amendment when, based on Congress's 14th Amendment enforcement powers of the Due Process clause, it allowed individuals to sue states for denying them services based on their disabilities. The Court held that Congress had sufficiently demonstrated the problems faced by disabled persons who sought to exercise fundamental rights protected by the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (such as access to a court). The Court also emphasized that the remedies required from the states were not unreasonable – they just had to make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled persons to exercise their fundamental rights. The Court thus held that because Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act was a "reasonable prophylactic measure, reasonably targeted to a legitimate end," and because Congress had the authority under the 14th Amendment to regulate the actions of the states to accomplish that end, the law was constitutional.
  • 2005 - The California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) became California law in 2005 after the voters passed Proposition 63. Funded through a 1 percent tax on personal incomes in excess of $1 million, the MHSA established a broad continuum of community-based prevention, early intervention, and other services for Californians with severe mental illnesses. The California Department of Mental Health administers the act, and counties and their contracted agencies provide the direct consumer services.
  • 2005 - In Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act applied to foreign-flagged cruise ships in U.S. waters.
  • 2005 - Peggy S. Salters, from South Carolina, became the first survivor of electroshock treatment to win a jury verdict and a large money judgment ($635,177) in compensation for extensive permanent amnesia and cognitive disability caused by the procedure.
  • 2005 - In Campbell v. General Dynamics Gov't Sys. Corp., the First Circuit Court of the U.S. had to consider the enforceability of a mandatory arbitration agreement, contained in a dispute resolution policy linked to an e-mailed company-wide announcement, insofar as it applied to employment discrimination claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the Court's analysis, the question turned on whether the employer provided minimally sufficient notice of the contractual nature of the e-mailed policy and of the concomitant waiver of an employee's right to access a judicial forum. The Court weighed the attendant circumstances and concluded that the notice was wanting and that, therefore, enforcement of the waiver would be inappropriate; thus the Court upheld the district court's denial of the employer's motion to stay proceedings and compel the employee to submit his claim to arbitration. The case is a principal case in the Rothstein, Liebman employment law casebook.
  • 2006 - In United States v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act extends to persons held in a state prison and protects prison inmates from discrimination on the basis of disability by prison personnel. Specifically, the court held that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1213112165., was a proper use of Congressional power under the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 5, making it applicable to prison system officials.
  • 2007 - Simone D., a psychiatric patient in the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in New York, won a court ruling which set aside a two-year-old court order to give her electroshock treatment against her will.
  • 2008 - The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Pub.L. 110–233, 122 Stat. 881, enacted May 21, 2008, GINA) became law in the U.S. The Act prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage to a healthy individual or charging that person higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future. The legislation also bars employers from using individuals' genetic information when making hiring, firing, job placement, or promotion decisions.
  • 2008 - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 became law, and it broadened the scope of who is considered disabled under the law, and when considering whether a person is disabled, the law required that people ignore the beneficial effects of any mitigating measures (except ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses) the person uses; furthermore, when considering whether a person is substantially limited in a major life activity, which would make them disabled under the law, the law required the consideration of bodily functions as well as other major life activities, and having one major life activity substantially limited is enough; when considering whether a person whose condition is episodic or in remission is substantially limited in a major life activity, the law required the consideration of the person's limitations as they are when the condition is in an active state; furthermore, determining someone is disabled under the law does not require individuals to meet the substantially-limited-in-a-major-life-activity standard, but does not include impairments that are transitory and minor.
  • 2008 - The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act became law in the U.S., and it required that if a group health plan includes medical/surgical benefits and MH/SUD (mental health/substance abuse) benefits, the financial requirements (e.g., deductibles and co-payments) and treatment limitations (e.g., number of visits or days of coverage) that apply to MH/SUD benefits must be no more restrictive than the predominant financial requirements or treatment limitations that apply to substantially all medical/surgical benefits; MH/SUD benefits may not be subject to any separate cost-sharing requirements or treatment limitations that only apply to such benefits; if a group health plan includes medical/surgical benefits and MH/SUD benefits, and the plan provides for out-of-network medical/surgical benefits, it must provide for out-of-network MH/SUD benefits; and standards for medical necessity determinations and reasons for any denial of benefits relating to MH/SUD benefits must be disclosed upon request. However, this law does not apply to small group health plans.
  • 2009 - The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law in the U.S., and it expanded the definition of federal hate crime to include those violent crimes in which the victim is selected due to their actual or perceived disability; previously federal hate crimes were defined as only those violent crimes where the victim is selected due to their race, color, religion, or national origin.
  • 2009 - The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act became law in the U.S. It was the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis; it created new coordinated research activities through the National Institutes of Health to search for a cure for paralysis, and promotes enhanced rehabilitation services for Americans living with paralysis.
  • 2009 - In Forest Grove v. T.A., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parents of a child with a disability. The Court held that even though their son had never received special education services from the school district they were entitled to pursue tuition reimbursement for the private educational program they secured for their son, T.A.


  • 2010 - The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, known as CVAA, was signed into law. It requires that unedited, full-length programs shown on TV with captions must also be captioned when they are made available online, with more requirements to be phased in at later dates.
  • 2010: Rosa's Law, which changed references in many federal statutes that referred to "mental retardation" to make them refer, instead, to "intellectual disability", became law in the U.S.
  • 2010 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law. Due to this law, since 2012 companies cannot drop a person's coverage when they get sick due to a mistake the person made on their application, or put a lifetime cap on how much care they will pay for if a person gets sick, and since 2014 companies cannot deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, or put an annual cap on how much care they will pay for if a person gets sick.
  • 2011 - On March 15, 2011, new Americans with Disabilities Act rules came into effect. These rules expanded accessibility requirements for recreational facilities such as swimming pools, golf courses, exercise clubs, and boating facilities. They also set standards for the use of wheelchairs and other mobility devices like Segways in public spaces, and changed the standards for things such as selling tickets to events and reserving accessible hotel rooms. The new rules also clearly defined “service animal” as “...any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” This portion of the law also states that the services the service animal provides must be “directly related to the handler’s disability” and dogs that provide only emotional support or crime deterrence cannot be defined as service animals.
  • 2011 - The Broken Arrow City Council, Oklahoma, unanimously voted to create an exotic animal ordinance exemption allowing Christie Carr, who was depressed, to keep her therapy kangaroo within city limits so long as certain conditions were met.
  • 2011 - In Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy v. Stewart, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia cannot invoke its sovereign immunity to prevent the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (an independent state agency and member of the National Disability Rights Network) from suing state officials for a court order. In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Ex Parte Young allows a federal court to hear a lawsuit for prospective relief against state officials brought by another agency of the same state.
  • 2011 - The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, also known as the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48), which states that California schools must include the contributions of people with disabilities in their textbooks and in teaching of history and social studies classes, became law.
  • 2011 - Facilities licensed by the DDS (Department of Developmental Services) in Massachusetts, including but not limited to the Judge Rotenberg Center, were banned from subjecting new admissions to severe behavioral interventions including electric shock, long-term restraint, or aversives that pose risk for psychological harm.
  • 2012 - It was announced that by 2014, AMC movie theaters in Illinois would be equipped with captioning services and audio-description devices, available to moviegoers at nearly any movie at an AMC theater in Illinois and at all of a film’s listed showings.
  • 2012 - A lawsuit settlement provided that the Colorado Department of Human Services is required to admit a pretrial detainee to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (“CMHIP”) within 28 days of the court determining the need for an evaluation or restorative treatment, the Department is required to maintain a monthly average of no more than 24 days for all patients admitted to CMHIP for evaluation or treatment, and competency evaluations performed in county jails must be completed within 30 days.[97]
  • 2012 - A lawsuit settlement provided that the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York would add wheelchair seating and accessible parking and renovate restrooms to make them more accessible.
  • 2012 - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn issued an executive order to increase state oversight of investigations into the deaths of adults with disabilities, because a recent Belleville News-Democrat investigation revealed that, since 2003, the inspector general of the Department of Human Services did not investigate 53 cases called into the agency's hotline about disabled adults living at home who were allegedly abused or neglected and later died.
  • 2012 - Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal to create a new state agency, the Justice Center for the Protection of People With Special Needs, to police abuse and neglect of more than one million New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and other conditions that put them at risk. Lawmakers also agreed to expand the state’s public disclosure law, requiring thousands of nonprofit groups that provide services to disabled and mentally ill people to make records of abuse and neglect public. Some disability activists supported this reform, but others disapproved because they thought investigations should be referred to outside police agencies, not the state. An independent nonprofit group is also being set up to lobby for policy changes for people with disabilities. The group will get powers to conduct its own investigations after complaints and to review documents connected to particular allegations, and that authority is detailed in state law. It will also be given access to group homes and state institutions.
  • 2012 - It was announced that Netflix will offer closed captions on all TV and movie content from September 2014 as part of a settlement with a deaf viewer from Massachusetts (Lee Nettles) who sued the company. In 2012, a federal judge in Springfield, Massachusetts ruled in that lawsuit that Netflix and other online providers that serve the public are subject to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the first ruling in the country to recognize that Internet-based businesses are covered by the act.
  • 2012 - The Idaho Fish and Game Commission declared that a companion without a tag or permit is allowed to assist a disabled hunter.
  • 2012 - A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed that school districts should reimburse parents for independent educational evaluations of students with disabilities, at least in some cases. Though the U.S. Department of Education had long indicated that parents have the right to an independent opinion at public expense under certain circumstance, the Jefferson County Board of Education in Alabama had challenged the rule.
  • 2013 - As of January 31st, 2013, all existing pools located at “public accommodations” must meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards. This requires the installation of a fixed lift for the pool areas.
  • 2013 - The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a girl's tree nut allergy was a protected disability under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, as well as an episodic impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • 2013 - The U.S. Justice Department said in a settlement with Lesley University in Massachusetts that severe food allergies can be considered disabilities under federal law.
  • 2013 - The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, Massachusetts found that companies can be required to pay long-term disability benefits to a recovering drug addict if the person would face a significant risk of relapse by returning to work. This is believed to be the first time a circuit court said that a risk of relapse into substance abuse can constitute a disability, entitling an employee to long-term benefits, according to the attorney for the plaintiff.
  • 2013 - The U.S. Department of Education issued a mandate requiring schools to provide sports for children with disabilities. Specifically, students with disabilities who want to compete in sports for their school can join traditional teams if officials can make “reasonable modifications” to accommodate them. If those adjustments would fundamentally alter a sport or give the student an advantage, the department says schools must create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing to traditional programs.
  • 2013 - Persons with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities who opt to apply for a job with the federal government through Schedule A - a hiring authority allowing agencies to appoint a qualified, disabled applicant to a position without competing with the general public - stopped being required to supply a “certification of job readiness” from a medical professional or rehabilitation specialist stating they could perform the job. Under the revised policies, agencies became able to hire after determining that the person is “likely to succeed” in performing the duties of the position, a decision that can be based on any relevant work, educational, or other experience. The new rules also dropped the term “mental retardation” and replaced it with “intellectual disability.”
  • 2013 - The U.S. Supreme Court blocked North Carolina from trying to take more than $900,000 from a legal settlement won by the family of a 13-year-old girl, identified only as E.M.A, who suffered serious injuries during her birth that left her severely disabled. Writing for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the state cannot claim a share of the settlement as reimbursement for medical care without determining how much of the settlement is attributable to the care.
  • 2013 - Effective July 1, 2013, California Civil Code Section 1938 requires every “commercial property owner or lessor” in California to include on the lease whether the property has been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp), and if so, whether the CASp did or did not determine whether the property met all applicable construction-related accessibility standards pursuant to Section 55.53.
  • 2013 - The U.S. Justice Department said on its website April 22nd that it was issuing a new nationwide policy for unrepresented detainees with serious mental disabilities. The Executive Office for Immigration Review will make available a qualified representative to detainees deemed mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
  • 2013 - North Carolina announced that it would spend $10 million beginning in June of 2015 to compensate men and women who were sterilized in the state's eugenics program; North Carolina sterilized 7,600 people from 1929 to 1974 who were deemed socially or mentally unfit.

^ This timeline amazes me at both how long it took for basic rights to be given to the disabled in the US as well as how far we still have to go in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century. ^