Haben Girma, a deafblind lawyer, introduced the President at a White House reception last week to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This afternoon, she sent the following message to the White House email list, in which she shares her personal story and explains how the ADA is helping Americans with disabilities continue to tear down barriers.
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The President shared a moving story of how, in the years before Congress passed the ADA, his father-in-law — who had multiple sclerosis — would sometimes hold himself back because he didn't want his disability to inconvenience others. With that story, President Obama reminded Americans that "We've got to tear down barriers externally, but we also have to tear down barriers internally."
As someone who has struggled against attitudinal barriers, I loved hearing our President encourage the world to view access for people with disabilities as a civil and human right.