The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners will honor the signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act later this month.
At its regular Thursday, July 11 meeting, the board proclaimed July 26 as Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day to honor the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Daryl Dixon, the county’s chief diversity and equity officer, presented the proclamation at the meeting, saying it is necessary to appreciate such an influential law. Dixon told the board that a newly formed employee resource group called AdAPT has set the tone for how the county treats and appreciates people with disabilities.
AdAPT stands for Abled and DisAbled Advocates Partnering Together. The resource group is aimed at assisting county employees with disabilities and making sure their needs are met at work. “This firmly enforces the county’s commitment to diversity,” AdAPT co-chair Karen Preston said.
Chair Jeff Cogen told the audience the ADA is one of the biggest civil rights achievements in the last several decades. “It is important for us to recognize that,” he said. “We are making sure all Multnomah County employees are valued and provided with a really good place to work, and I am really proud to be a part of it.”
The ADA came about from legislation written by Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that was passed and signed into law in 1990. Several amendments were enacted in 2009. The ADA forbids discrimination against people with disabilities and allows the disabled to have equal opportunities in the work environment.
At the county’s meeting, AdAPT’s other co-chair Tracy Buckner paid tribute to the proclamation by using American Sign Language to sign the first portion of the proclamation.
Dixon told the board that the ADA is an important thing to recognize and explained why it resonates with him personally.
“My youngest brother was born with a developmental disability, and I remember people looking at my brother and thinking of all the things he could not do,” Dixon recalled. “Yet, when I looked at him I just saw all the things he could do, and the truth is we are all differently abled in one way or another.”