By Dan Wing and ALexandria Hoff
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A celebration was held in Center City Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The festivities kicked off at Dilworth Park with speakers and live performances by musicians with disabilites. From there, hundreds lined up for a parade down Market Street to the National Constitution Center where more speakers addressed the crowd of hundreds.
Among the day’s speakers was retired Senator Tom Harkin, the primary author of the ADA, who said he’s happy with the progress that has been made, but says more progress needs to come in two areas. One of them being independent living and the other being employment.
“In America today, of all of the adults with disabilities 60% are not in the work force.” said Harkin.
Harkin says employers should stop focusing on the disability, and instead focus on what abilities these people do have.
“People with disabilities have a lot of abilities, and with sometimes just minor accomodations they can work anywhere. They can do a lot of jobs.”
Philadelphia City Councilman Dennis O’Brien discussed the great progress that has been made here in Philadelphia for people with disabilities. But he feels that in addition to employers giving more people with disabilities a chance, each of us needs to do our part as well.
“Recognize them as neighbors” said O’Brien, “as classmates, as co-workers, and we have to be better at that.”
O’Brien also feels that an area where improvement can still be made here in Philadelphia is in the city’s taxis, which he feels can be improved to better accommodate people with disabilities.