The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990, and was expanded in 2009 with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The ADA prohibits any discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace, in schools, on public transportation, and in all public and private places that are open to the public.
Meet Harry Weaver III, he is Oakland County’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. As a person who uses a wheelchair, he brings a unique perspective to the job that benefits both employees and visitors to the county campus.
On this 33rd Anniversary of the ADA, there is much to reflect upon. As someone who was not born with a disability, but acquired one as an adult, the perspective of having lived on both sides is an interesting one.
I have found myself in many “You don’t know until you know” situations when I didn’t realize the importance of ADA accommodations until I needed them. I also find myself incredibly relieved when necessary accommodations are readily available, and equally annoyed when they are not.
As a wheelchair user, navigating spaces is ALWAYS a challenge because most spaces are not inherently designed for people with mobility issues, but rather the accommodations are an add-on or an afterthought. Everything from getting dressed to driving and other daily activities require different and oftentimes creative or innovative approaches.
In the time since I acquired my injury, I have had to be creative about doing some of what used to be the simplest things. I am sure this is the case with anyone who lives with any sort of disability. With that in mind, when you see people with disabilities out and about or know colleagues, friends, or family members who have “invisible” disabilities, know that they all use their own unique and creative systems to adapt to a world that too often does not adapt to them.Harry Weaver III
Community resources are available on the Oakland County Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion resources webpage. Follow the Oakland County Executive Office on Facebook and Twitter for more updates about the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.