Celebrating 25 Years of Change
Friendly Wheels, Issue 78
With The ADA Legacy Project
With more than 45 years in the mobility business, Amigo has witnessed first-hand the positive effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA will celebrate its 25th anniversary next July, and the ADA Legacy Project is working to bring attention to this exciting occasion. The group’s mission is to honor the contributions of people with disabilities and their allies who made the ADA possible by launching a new event called ADA25.
By preserving the history of the disability rights movement, celebrating its milestones and educating the public and future generations of advocates, the ADA Legacy Project will help shape a world where all people are given equal opportunities.
For the next year, the project will aim to collect historical materials related to the disability rights movement and plan activities to celebrate the ADA25 anniversary.
Amigo owners and other people with walking challenges were able to work, go on vacation, or simply go to the grocery store once facilities became more accessible. Before the ADA was in place, many people with disabilities did not have access to these basic rights — public accommodations like elevators, accessible bathrooms and curb cuts were not the norm.
Amigo Chairman and Founder, Al Thieme, recalls many Amigo owners who were involved in the disability rights movement. Power-operated vehicles (POVs) like the Amigo provided people the independence they desired, and this inspired them to seek the same level of independence outside their home.
“When I started Amigo Mobility in 1968, people with disabilities didn’t have a voice,” Al Thieme said. “Thanks to Amigo owners and thousands of other advocates across the country, many improvements have been made.”
While tremendous progress has taken place since the ADA was signed into law in 1990, there is still a long future of accessible changes ahead.
“The opportunity for improvement always exists,” Al Thieme said. “Accessible public transportation, equal opportunity for employment, these areas and many others have received a positive impact because of the ADA. My hope for the future is for all schools, businesses and governments to accept these and future changes with open arms.”
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