Illinois Department of Human Services Celebrates 23rd Anniversary of Historic Americans With Disabilities Act

Governor proclaims July 16 as Americans with Disabilities Act Day

CHICAGO - In honor of the 23rd anniversary of the historic signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will sponsor a special event showcasing Illinois' continued commitment to persons with disabilities. The free event will be held Tuesday, July 16 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

"We're committed to keeping the promise of equality and continuing to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in the state of Illinois," said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. "During fiscal year 2013, the IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services helped more than 5,000 individuals enter the workforce and live independently."

Governor Pat Quinn also proclaimed July 16 as Americans with Disabilities Act Day in Illinois and encourages all citizens to reaffirm the principles of equality and inclusion by ensuring that people with disabilities are included in the mainstream community life.

This year's celebration, "ADA Breaking Down the Barriers," highlights the talents and accomplishments of people with disabilities through art and interactive exhibits, entertainment provided by performers with disabilities, workshops and a three-on-three wheelchair basketball exhibition. The Illinois Department of Employment Security and the IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services will also host a job fair for persons with disabilities from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The "ADA Breaking Down the Barriers" celebration encourages the state and persons with disabilities to work together in the same spirit that accompanied the original enactment of this law. This celebration highlights the contributions of persons with disabilities in Illinois, as well as their everyday challenges and successes. It also serves as a reminder to every citizen of the importance of civil rights protections for Illinois residents and facilitates broader awareness about an inclusive society.

For the last 23 years, IDHS has joined with a coalition of other state agencies and councils to sponsor a statewide event commemorating the passage of the ADA, which was signed into law in 1990. The celebration not only recognizes the accomplishments of people with disabilities, it shows how state agencies, programs and other organizations have worked to implement the law. Illinois has a long standing history of protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, going back more than 30 years to the passage of the Illinois Human Rights Act (December 6, 1979), which prohibits discrimination against any person with a "physical or mental disability."

For more information about IDHS programs and services for persons with disabilities, please visit