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July 26, 2005 Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives in noting the 15th Anniversary of the (ADA) Americans With Disability Act on Tuesday. Enacted in 1990 through the efforts of a Democratic Congress and a Republican president, the law has improved the lives of many Americans.
'"Over the past 15 years, ADA's accomplishments have included visible signs of progress such as curb cuts, wheelchair lifts, Braille signs, accessible parking and seating in public venues,'" Christensen observed. '"ADA's greatest success has been in improving physical accessibility, transportation and communications, such as in architectural improvements, enhanced mobility on buses, and other forms of transportation and improvements for people with hearing and speech impairments to include national relay services and closed captioning.'"
The delegate noted that, even with the success of the last 15 years, there is still much to be done and that she continues to work with advocacy groups in the territory who advance the cause of the islands' disabled. '"The work that many of our local groups such as V.I. Find, Virgin Islands Advocacy, V.I. Resources Center for Disabled and Ten Thousand Helpers of St. Croix do in our communities is immeasurable,'" the Delegate said. '"Through the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, we have been able to address the policies towards the disabled, especially the minority disabled on the national level and in our local communities.'"
Delegate Christensen particularly singled out the Accessible Travel and Inclusive Design Conference taking place on St. John this week, which explores the ways that will help disabled travelers find accommodations in the territory. She also saluted the work of Maho Bay campground president Stanley Selengut on his pioneer work in providing disabled-access facilities at the Maho and Concordia properties. "The Open Doors organization is to be commended for working to enhance our tourism product by looking at the special needs of disabled travelers and ensuring that disabilities will not be a barrier to enjoying all that our islands have to offer."