June 23, 2020

Duckworth at AAPD Disability Vote Summit: “The Fight is Not Over.”


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today participated in the American Association of People with Disabilities’ (AAPD) Summit “Power: The Disability Vote” where she discussed how critical expanding Vote by Mail during this pandemic is for disability community, biases against people with disabilities in the criminal justice system and the importance of the disability community not letting up as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act. The discussion was moderated by Taryn Williams, the Managing Director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Key quotes:

  • “Many people with disabilities have a hard time getting to the polls. If you look at what happened in Georgia just a couple weeks ago where people were in line for eight hours waiting to vote. There you see the importance of the ability to vote by mail.”
  • The fight is not over. I hope that we all take the 30th anniversary of the ADA as an opportunity not to rest on our laurels and look back, but to move forward in the fight that we still have in front of us.”
  • “We need to come together as a community and make sure that we move our agenda to the forefront of the national dialogue. That’s going to take the next generation. We’ve had the hand-off from the previous generation to our generation. Now it’s on us to take the next fight. I wasn’t there to crawl up the steps of the Capitol to fight for the passage of the ADA. I get to roll across the floor of the Capitol because those folks crawled up those steps. Now it’s my responsibility to take that fight to the next step.”

Since she was first elected to Congress, Duckworth has been a fierce advocate for disability rights. She led efforts to protect the ADA last Congress, gathering enough support from her Senate colleagues to block a House bill that would have gutted enforcement of the landmark civil rights legislation and rewarded businesses that have failed to make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities. Duckworth also passed legislation to require airlines to disclose the number of lost bags and broken wheelchairs to ensure travelers are treated with dignity.

Last year, Duckworth introduced legislation to make it easier for small businesses to become accessible for people with disabilities and help those businesses comply with ADA. She also led her colleagues in asking the Trump Administration for information regarding its failure to hire and retain employees with targeted disabilities. In response to Trump administration’s refusal to address racial discrimination in special education, Duckworth joined her colleagues in demanding answers from Secretary DeVos for failing to comply with court order and address the issue. She also helped introduce legislation to make fitness facilities across the country more accessible for those with disabilities.