On July 26, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law as a Civil Rights Law. The law was designed to guarantee equal rights to persons with disabilities equal opportunity in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government, telecommunications, and a host of other rights.
The law covers rights to people with physical as well as mental disabilities and the right to have equal access to public accommodations including retail stores, theaters, restaurants, medical facilities, and sports venues. These accommodations are commonly identified by ramps for wheelchairs, cutouts on streets for access for wheelchairs, and elevators in buildings that have more than one floor.
A building with heavy doors and no way to be opened by a person in a wheelchair or with no usable arm can be made accessible by adding automatic doors. As a note, the Pasadena Unified School District provided automatic doors to the District office only after a lawsuit by the Law Offices of Joe C. Hopkins was filed on behalf of Alma Dillard, a member of the City of Pasadena's Commission on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Ms. Dillard proved by her action that she was a person of more than words. She served as chairperson of the city's commission for two terms and is still an active member of the commission.
The commission provides direction to the city on issues related to the ADA laws. They advise on how to improve the city's building regulations and include communications technologies, transportation, and employment.
In 2009, Mayor Bill Bogaard proclaimed July 26, 2010 as a day of celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Act.