Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Last month was the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was a landmark civil rights law that affirmed the inherent dignity of every person, regardless of disability. On this episode of Disability Rap, we’re spending the hour celebrating the ADA, its effects on people with disabilities and all Americans, and its impact right here in Nevada County.

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Geeta Dardick is with us. She and her husband Sam were longtime residents and farmers here in Nevada County, and at the encouragement of Ed Roberts, they helped to start FREED in the 1980s. The two of them traveled to Washington D.C. to represent FREED and Nevada County at the signing of the ADA by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. We’re honored to have you with us, Geeta, and we look forward to you sharing some of your stories from that day and from the early days of FREED.

Mark Fenicle is also with us. Mark attended U.C. Berkeley in the early ’70s, graduating with a degree in Invertebrate Zoology. After a brief stint at the University of California Marine Laboratory at Bodega Bay, he worked for the VA at various hospitals and clinics for 31 years. Mark moved to Grass Valley in 2006, and in 2015, he joined the FREED Board, where he now serves as Chair.

Joining us from Oakland is Eddie Ytuarte, a producer with the Pushing Limits radio collective at KPFA. Eddie served on the Oakland Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities and served for six years on the Board of what is now Disability Rights California. Back then it was known as Protection and Advocacy, Inc. He’s been producing disability-related content for Pushing Limits since 2003 and has also contributed content to El Tecolote in Oakland.

And from Topeka, Kansas, Ami Hyten is with us. Ami is the Executive Director at the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center. She has been involved in grassroots disability organizing for almost a quarter century as a member of ADAPT and with the Disability Rights Action Coalition in Housing. I attended several webinars Ami gave recently on disability history and the philosophy of the Independent Living Movement, and I learned a ton. We wanted to bring her on the show to share that history and her perspective with our listeners here in Nevada County.