2002 PRESS RELEASES, ADVISORIES AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS OBSERVES DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is pleased to join the nation in observing Disability Awareness Month, from October 1 to October 31, 2002. More than 54 million Americans have disabilities. Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, progress has been made to improve their access to employment, public accommodations, technology, housing, education, and voting. However, significant challenges and many barriers to full participation remain for Americans with disabilities. A survey by the National Organization on Disability found:

The terrorist attacks on the nation made obvious new concerns for people with disabilities. The nation was moved to learn of wheelchair users who perished because of their inability to escape from burning buildings. This has created new government and private sector responsibilities in counter-terrorism planning and preparedness for the disability community.

Public officials must work proactively and productively to afford disabled Americans full participation in our nation, said Commission Chairperson Mary Frances Berry. The Commission is dedicated to furthering full participation and opportunity for all Americans, including persons with disabilities.

10/02/02