20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Valerie Jarrett:
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the White House. It’s pretty warm out there. Yeah, you can clap
about being here. It’s an exciting day. (applause) We want to thank each and every
one of you for joining us on this very important 20th
anniversary of the passage of the ADA Act. I thank you so much for
being with us here today. It’s an important moment in our
nation’s history, and 20 years this ago day President
George H. W. Bush signed the ADA into law,
and today it remains one of the most sweeping landmark pieces
of legislation, civil rights legislation in our
nation’s history. So thank you again for all of
your support over the last 20 years. (applause) The ADA has opened up countless
doors that had previously been closed to millions of American
citizens who are living with disabilities. And by eliminating physical
obstacles and by prohibiting discrimination the ADA finally
provided disabled Americans with their fair shot at pursuing
the American dream. So that’s why we’re
here to celebrate. And we celebrate the fundamental
promise of equality for Americans with disabilities that
began in Earnest 20 years ago. Today is perhaps our biggest
celebration of the ADA to date, but it’s certainly
not our first. As a matter of fact, I had the
pleasure of kicking off the Obama Administration’s official
commemoration over a month ago at the Kennedy Center as a part
of the VSA Internation Festivall; a terrific evening for all of
those who were there. Since then, the White House has
joined several of our agency partners in hosting events
including the Department of Justice, the Department of
Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the
Department of Education and many more. Each event has highlighted ways
in which your government is working to further enhance the
opportunities for the 54 million Americans who are living
with disabilities. And today as a series of
commemoration events that we have had over the last month or
so, we are culminating it here today, and we are just as
delighted for the fun and the entertainment and the new
exciting announcements that we have for you. So in just a moment you’re going
to hear from a true leader and pioneer in the disabilities
community, a dear friend of mine, Marca Bristo. A round of applause for Marca. (applause) Because, you see, Marca
is a home town girl. She’s from Chicago. And I’ve had the pleasure of
knowing and working with her over the last 20 years since we
worked together in the city of Chicago. We have worked together. We have fought. She is a strong
advocate, as you know. We have laughed together
and we have cried together. But lately our tears have been
tears of joy and the fact that she could be here with us today
brings those of us who are from Chicago a special
pleasure and delight. After Marca, her speech will be
followed by three outstanding artists; we’re going to have
Marlee Matlin, Nathaniel Ayers and Patti LaBelle. (applause) That’s what I say
about Patti, always. Finally, Joyce Bender; an
entrepreneur and internationally recognized voice on disability
rights, will introduce our very own President Obama. As you hear from the president,
the Obama Administration is deeply committed to honoring and
enforcing the principles set forth by the ADA. (applause) As our events over the last
month have demonstrated, we as a nation have certainly come a
long way since 1990 towards ensuring equal opportunity
for all Americans. But that’s not to say; however,
that our work is finished. As we must use this anniversary
of the ADA to not only remember the importance of this
legislation, but to renew our commitment to preserving
its promise for all future generations. And we know that working
together we are confident that we can do just that. So again, I thank you for being
here and joining us here at the White House or as the President
and the First Lady like to say, your house. So welcome home and
enjoy our festivities. Thank you. (applause) Marca Bristo:
I love you, Beto. Mr. President, members
of Congress, friends and colleagues, this is a great day! Let’s hear it. Happy Birthday, ADA. (applause) More than 20 years ago, the then
little known, National Council on Disability, led by Sandra
Parrino, Justin Dart and Lex Frieden launched the most
comprehensive civil rights law since the civil
rights act of 1964. At first, it was met with
hesitancy, but then a rag tag army of people who couldn’t
hear, couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, couldn’t see, couldn’t
speak, did what everybody said couldn’t be done. We re-educated Congress and
together we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. (applause) In my good friend, former
Congressman Tony Coelho’s words, “we did this by sharing the
scar tissue of our lives.” We sent policymakers thousands
of discrimination diaries; snapshots of what it was like to
be a disabled person in 1989. Our rally cry was just two
simple words: Simple Justice. The legislative process wasn’t
simple, but we forged that bipartisan alliance
and made history. I want to say thank you to our
leaders, to my heroes, all of you, people like Pat
Wright, the general. (applause) Hold your applause. There’s a lot of them here. Liz Savage, Judy Heumann, Ralph
Neas, Dick and Ginny Thornburgh, Bobbie Silverstein, Paul
Marchand, Bob Burgdorf, Carolyn Osolinik, Michael Winter, Yoshiko Dart, John Kemp, Chai Feldblum and so many others. Now you can clap. (applause) And to our congressional
partners who reached across the aisle joined in common purpose
through the universality of the disability experience. Thank you so much to senators
Harkin, Dole, Weicker, Hatch, Durbin, and the late
senators Kennedy and Simon. (applause) And to our friends in the other
house, Congressman Coelho, Owens, Hoyer, Bartlett,
Fish and so many others. We could not have done this
without all of your tireless effort. But today, we are not here only
to celebrate the law and the incredible transformation of
society it has set in motion. We are really here to celebrate
the incredible power of the disability rights movement
and our allies, all of you. The changes — (applause) — that this law called for:
lifts on buses, accessible facilities, streets and public
services, accessible ATMs, telecommunication, access to the
workplace and many others, could not and would not have
happened without us. Civil rights laws do not
self-enforce — they only come to life when enlightened
citizens, people who say no to the outdated policies of
segregation, dependence and paternalism, seize their rights
and push the envelope of reform. Today, I am reminded of those
heroes of our movement who are no longer with us: Justin
Dart, Ed Roberts, Frank Bowe, Elizabeth Boggs, Wade Blank,
Sharon Mistler, Evan Kemp, Judi Chaimberlin, Paul Hearne, Howie the Harp and so many others. And I look out in the crowd and
I see the next generation of leaders like Erin Mallicoat,
Mariyam Cementwala and
Ari Ne’eman. And then I think of all those
people still locked up in institutions. People like my fellow
Illinoisans: Stanley Ligas, Ethel Williams,
and Lenil Colbert. It is for all of them that we
must redouble our efforts. We will not stop fighting
the systemic and illegal institutionalization of people
with disabilities who are today languishing in nursing homes
and other institutions. (applause) And I want to say a special
thank you, Mr. President, to you, your administration and
Attorney General Holder in particular for making Olmstead
Enforcement a priority of your administration. (applause) As we look forward to the
next 20 years, I know we will prevail. We will prevail because our
cause is just and right. We will prevail because
I believe in all of you. President Obama, members of
Congress, we ask you to join us in the unfinished business of
the ADA, the IDEA, the Fair Housing Amendments Act, and
importantly now, ratifying the convention on the rights of
persons with disabilities, the first human rights treaty
of the 21st century. (applause) In the words of our trusted and
beloved leader, Justin Dart, when he let us in his great
cause for justice and equality — bare with me — equipment
malfunction — ADA, America wins. I have a button from the actual
signing ceremony that Yoshiko has given to me to give to the
President, and I want you to help me close our ceremony in
words that I know you all know, Justin’s words, “Colleagues,
together we have overcome, together we shall overcome. Lead on!” (applause) Thank you. Announcer:
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ms. Marlee Matlin. Marlee Matlin: (as translated) Hello, ladies and gentlemen. What a glorious day. “I remember the morning that I
first asked the meaning of the word, ‘love.’ This was before I
knew many words. I had found a few early violets
in the garden and brought them to my teacher. ‘What is love?’ I asked. She drew me closer to her and
said, ‘It is here,’ pointing to my heart, whose beats I was
conscious of for the first time. Her words puzzled me very
much because I did not then understand anything
unless I touched it. I smelt the violets in her hand
and asked, half in words, half in signs, a question which
meant, ‘Is love the sweetness of flowers?’ ‘No,’ said my teacher. Again I thought. The warm sun was shining on us. ‘Is this not love?’ I asked, pointing in the
direction from which the heat came. ‘Is this not love?’ It seemed to me that there could
be nothing more beautiful than the sun, whose warmth
makes all things grow. But Miss Sullivan shook her
head, and I was greatly puzzled and disappointed. A day or two afterward I was
stringing beads of different sizes in symmetrical groups. I had made many mistakes, and
Miss Sullivan had pointed them out with gentle patience. Finally I noticed a very obvious
error and for an instant I concentrated on how I should
have arranged the beads. Miss Sullivan touched my
forehead and spelled into my hand with decided emphasis, ‘Think.’ For a long time I was still — I
was not thinking of the beads in my lap, but trying to find a
meaning for ‘love’ in the light of this new idea. The sun had been under a cloud
all day, but suddenly the sun broke forth in all
its’ southern splendor. Again I asked my teacher,
‘Is this not love?’ ‘Love is something like the
clouds that were in the sky before the sun came
out,’ she replied. ‘You cannot touch the clouds,
you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers
and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. Without love you would not
be happy or want to play. ‘ The beautiful truth burst upon
my mind–I felt that there were invisible lines stretched
between my spirit and the spirits of others.” In a society where she would
have most certainly been condemned to a life of fearful
limitation and mortality, Helen Keller rose and soared above everyone’s expectations to become a symbol of triumph over
adversity making disability seem less threatening. And though Helen Keller lived in
a world of silence and darkness, prejudice and discrimination,
silence, as I’ve said so often for myself, is the last thing
the world ever heard from her. Helen Keller, young woman and
girl, complex and enigmatic, blind and deaf, on this 20th
anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, your
inspiration rings more loudly and shines more brightly today. (applause) Now, I have the pleasure of
introducing Ms. Melody Barnes, assistant to the president and
director of the Domestic Policy Council. (applause) Melody Barnes:
Thank you so much, Marlee Matlin and good evening, everyone. Happy ADA Anniversary! Oh, come on. Happy ADA Anniversary! That’s right. (applause) It is so wonderful to be here
with you this evening and to work for a president who is very
deeply committed to honoring and enforcing the rights of
persons who are living with disabilities. And I’m also very grateful to
the members of Congress who are here with us this evening
because you have done the long and arduous and wonderful work
of making the ADA a reality. Thank you. The Americans with Disabilities
Act was a landmark piece of civil rights legislation; a
formal acknowledgment that Americans living with
disabilities are Americans first. They are entitled to every
right and responsibility, every freedom and every opportunity
that flows from our constitution, our laws
and our sense of decency. The road that brought us to
the ADA was long and hard. You remember the debate. There were people who argued
that the bill went too far. There were those who argued with
us and told us that it would devastate our economy. But because you worked so long
and so hard alongside members of Congress, because you dedicated
yourself and worked relentlessly in the pursuit of justice,
because you wouldn’t let bias and prejudice and excuses stand
in the way and stall progress, Congress passed this crucial
piece of legislation 20 years ago. After passage of the ADA, I had
the honor and the privilege of working with one of our great
congressional heroes, Senator Edward M. Kennedy. And I can tell you — (applause) Thank you, I know his spirit is
with us here today, along with so many other heroes. I can tell you, working with him
day after day after day that he worked to breathe life into
the words of the legislation; whether we were focusing on jobs
or Healthcare, whether we were talking about athletics or
the arts, it didn’t matter. He wanted to make sure that
everyone had access to opportunity. In his words, disabled
people are not unable. With all the challenges facing
our country, we cannot afford to ignore the talent of the
disabled or neglect the skills they have to offer. Given where we are today, those
words have never been more true. And that’s why I’m so proud
today to work for President Obama and to be a part
of this administration. From day one, we’ve built on the
achievements embodied in the ADA while casting our eyes to the
future, while recognizing the possibility of what can be. That’s why President Obama was
proud to add America to the list of 140 countries that signed on
to the United Nations convention on the rights of persons
with disabilities. And I’ve heard it acknowledge,
the first human right is treaty of this century. (applause) That’s why he provided more than
$12 billion working with members of Congress in the recovery act
for the IDEA, and that’s why last year he launched the year
of community living — and but wait, there’s more — and
that’s also why he signed the Christopher and Dana Reeves
Paralysis Act into law. Today is a truly remarkable
day, a day of celebration. It reminds us in Dr. King’s
words that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but
it bends towards justice. After all, this is a
beginning, not an end.” After celebrating tonight,
tomorrow we all go back to work. Bending ever closer to justice
and opportunity for all people. So thank you for all that you
have done and all that we will certainly accomplish together. And now, please join me in
welcoming Nathaniel Ayers. (applause) Robert David Hall:
This is a great day. To stand here with my sisters
and brothers who are citizens with disabilities, to join with
parents, activists, artists and supporters to celebrate the 20th
Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
is quite simply a joy. (applause) I am not an expert on the ADA. I’m an American with a
disability who thinks the letter and spirit of this
groundbreaking law has made my life better and will, with
continued hard work, pave the way for future generations
of people with every type of disability to achieve
their full potential. As a newly disabled man in 1978,
I knew nothing of disability rights. I wanted to be an actor and a
musician, and I was intent on pursuing my passion. Well-meaning friends urged me
to pursue a more appropriate career. I of course, ignored them. (applause) During the past 32 years I’ve
been influenced by many people in the disability community. The heavy lifting, however, to
quote Arlene Mayerson, has been done by many thousands
of people who make up the disability rights movement. People who have worked for
years organizing and attending protests, licking envelopes,
sending out alerts, drafting legislation, speaking,
testifying, negotiating, lobbying, filing
lawsuits, being arrested. In short, doing whatever they
could do for a cause they believed in. I wasn’t here in March of 1990
when three dozens of my brothers and sisters abandoned their
wheelchairs and crawled up the capital steps. (applause) Their struggle reminds me this
battle for basic human civil rights is a marathon race. Every victory, like the ADA, is
hard fought and only begins the next phase of the journey. There are so many
heroes in our movement. Mine include Dr. Victoria Ann
Lewis, Theater and Disability Professor at the
University Redlands. Alan Toy, an actor and
activist from Los Angeles. Tari Hartman Squire, a dynamo
in the world of disability communications. Dr. Paul Longmore, historian and
disabilities from San Francisco. And Gail Williamson, a champion
of children with Down syndrome. (applause) I’m also proud of my union, SAG,
AFTRA and Actors’ Equity, who were here at the original
signing of the ADA in 1990. (applause) Another man who’s influenced me
greatly is my brother,
Bruce Hall. He was born legally blind. Our mother fought to keep him
mainstreamed in school and Bruce grew up to become a teacher and
a award-winning photographer. He’s also the father of handsome
nine-year-old twin boys, Jack and James who have
profound autism. As many of you parents
understand, Bruce and his wife, Valerie, climb the equivalent of
the capital steps every day to provide the best possible
life for their sons. I also owe a Debt of gratitude
to the men and women who pushed for passage of the ADA and, of
course, I honor the pioneers of the disability civil
rights movement as well. But right now, it is my great
honor to introduce an American who understands that obstacles
are part of life and they can be dealt with, a man who, with our
help, is fighting for authentic and lasting solutions for all
Americans in so many areas. A husband, father, son and
grandson, who recognizes that Americans with disabilities
have only begun to claim their birthright, please join me in
welcoming the 44th president of our great country, Barack Obama. (applause) President Obama:
Thank you. Good evening, everybody. (applause) Thank you so much. Well, we have a gorgeous day to
celebrate an extraordinary event in the life of this nation. Welcome, all of you,
to our White House. And thank you, Robert, for
the wonderful introduction. It is a pleasure and honor to
be with all of you on the 20th anniversary of one of the most
comprehensive civil rights bills in the history of this
country — the Americans with Disabilities Act. (applause) I see so many champions
of this law here today. I wish I had time to acknowledge
each and every one of you. I want to thank all of you. But I also want to thank our
Cabinet Secretaries and the members of my administration
here today who are working to advance the goals of the ADA so
that it is not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of
the law, that’s being applied all across this country. (applause) I want to thank the members
of Congress in attendance who fought to make ADA possible and
to keep improving it throughout the years. (applause) I want to acknowledge Dick
Thornburgh, who worked hard to make this happen as Attorney
General under President George H.W. Bush. (applause) And by the way, I had a chance
to speak to President Bush before I came out here, and he
sends heartfelt regards to all of you. And it’s — he’s extraordinarily
proud of the law that was passed. He was very humble about his own
role, but I think it’s worth acknowledging the
great work that he did. (applause) We also remember those we’ve
lost who helped make this law possible — like our
old friend, Ted Kennedy. (applause) And I see Patrick here. And Justin Dart, Jr., a man
folks call the father of the ADA — whose wife Yoshiko, is here. (applause) Yoshiko, so nice to see you. (applause) I also notice that Elizabeth
Dole is here, and I had a chance to speak to Bob Dole, as
well, and thank him for the extraordinary role that he
played in advancing this legislation. (applause) Let me also say that Congressman
Jim Langevin wanted to be here today, but he’s currently
presiding over the House chamber — the first time in our history
somebody using a wheelchair has done so. (applause) Today, as we commemorate what
the ADA accomplished, we celebrate who the
ADA was all about. It was about the young girl in
Washington State who just wanted to see a movie at her hometown
theater, but was turned away because she had cerebral palsy;
or the young man in Indiana who showed up at a worksite, able
to do the work, excited for the opportunity, but was turned away
and called a cripple because of a minor disability he had
already trained himself to work with; or the student in
California who was eager and able to attend the college of
his dreams, and refused to let the iron grip of polio keep him
from the classroom — each of whom became integral
to this cause. And it was about all of you. You understand these stories
because you or someone you loved lived them. And that sparked a movement. It began when Americans
no longer saw their own disabilities as a barrier to
their success, and set out to tear down the physical and
social barriers that were. It grew when you realized
you weren’t alone. It became a massive wave of
bottom-up change that swept across the country as you
refused to accept the world as it was. And when you were told, no,
don’t try, you can’t, he — you responded with that age-old
American creed: Yes, we can. (applause) Audience Member:
Yes, we can. (applause) President Obama:
Yes, we can! Sit-ins in San Francisco. Demonstrations in Denver. Protests in Washington, D.C., at
Gallaudet, and before Congress. People marched, and
organized, and testified. And laws changed, and minds
changed, and progress was won. (applause) Now, that’s not to
say it was easy. You didn’t always have folks
in Washington to fight on your behalf. And when you did, they weren’t
as powerful, as well-connected, as well-funded as the lobbyists
who lined up to kill any attempt at change. And at first, you might have
thought, what does anyone in Washington know or
care about my battle? But what you knew from your own
experience is that disability touches us all. If one in six Americans has a
disability, then odds are the rest of us love somebody
with a disability. I was telling a story to a group
that was in the Oval Office before I came out here about
Michelle’s father who had MS. By the time I met him, he had to
use two canes just to walk. He was stricken with MS when he
was 30 years old, but he never missed a day of work; had to
wake up an hour early to get dressed — Audience Member:
So what. President Obama:
— to get to the job, but that was his attitude — so what. He could do it. Didn’t miss a dance recital. Did not miss a ball
game of his son. Everybody has got a story like
that somewhere in their family. And that’s how you rallied an
unlikely assortment of leaders in Congress and in the
White House to the cause. Congressmen like Steny Hoyer,
who knew his wife Judy’s battle with epilepsy; and Tony Coehlo,
who waged his own; and Jim Sensenbrenner, whose wife,
Cheryl, is a tremendous leader and advocate for the community. And they’re both here today. (applause) Senators like Tom Harkin, who’s
here today, and who signed — (applause) — who signed part of a speech
on the ADA so his deaf brother, Frank, would understand. And Ted Kennedy, whose sister
had a severe intellectual disability and whose son
lost a leg to cancer. And Bob Dole, who was wounded
serving heroically in
World War II. Senior officials in the White
House, and even the President himself. They understood this injustice
from the depths of their own experience. They also understood that by
allowing this injustice to stand, we were depriving of our
nation — we were depriving our nation and our economy of the
full talents and contributions of tens of millions of
Americans with disabilities. That is how the ADA came to be,
when, to his enduring credit, President George H.W. Bush signed it into law, on this lawn, on this day, 20 years ago. That’s how you changed America. (applause) Equal access — to the
classroom, the workplace, and the transportation
required to get there. Equal opportunity — to live
full and independent lives the way we choose. Not dependence —
but independence. That’s what the
ADA was all about. (applause) But while it was a historic
milestone in the journey to equality, it wasn’t the end. There was, and is, more to do. And that’s why today I’m
announcing one of the most important updates to the ADA
since its original enactment in 1991. Today, the Department of Justice
is publishing two new rules protecting disability-based
discrimination — or prohibiting disability-based discrimination
by more than 80,000 state and local government entities, and
7 million private businesses. (applause) And beginning 18 months from
now, all new buildings must be constructed in a way that’s
compliant with the new 2010 standards for the design of
doors and windows and elevators and bathrooms — (applause) — buildings like stores and
restaurants and schools and stadiums and hospitals
and hotels and theaters. (applause) My predecessor’s administration
proposed these rules six years ago. And in those six years, they’ve
been improved upon with more than 4,000 comments
from the public. We’ve heard from all sides. And that’s allowed us to do
this in a way that makes sense economically and allows
appropriate flexibility while ensuring Americans with
disabilities full participation in our society. And for the very first time,
these rules will cover recreational facilities like
amusement parks and marinas and gyms and golf facilities
and swimming pools — (applause) — and municipal facilities
like courtrooms and prisons. (applause) From now on, businesses must
follow practices that allow individuals with disabilities an
equal chance to purchase tickets for accessible seating at
sporting events and concerts. (applause) And our work goes on. Even as we speak, Attorney
General Eric Holder is preparing new rules to ensure
accessibility of websites. (applause) Audience:
Yes, we can. President Obama:
Yes, we can. We’re also placing a new focus
on hiring Americans with disabilities across
the federal government. (applause) Today, only 5 percent of the
federal workforce is made up of Americans with disabilities —
far below the proportion of Americans with disabilities
in the general population. In a few moments, I’ll sign
an executive order that will establish the federal government
as a model employer of individuals with disabilities. (applause) So we’re going to boost
recruitment, we’re going to boost training, we’re
going to boost retention. We’ll better train
hiring managers. Each agency will have a senior
official who’s accountable for achieving the goals we’ve set. And I expect regular reports. And we’re going to post our
progress online so that you can hold us accountable, too. (applause) And these new steps build on the
progress my administration has already made. To see it that no one who signs
up to fight for our country is ever excluded from its promise,
we’ve made major investments in improving the care and treatment
for our wounded warriors. (applause) To ensure full access to
participation in our democracy and our economy, we’re working
to make all government websites accessible to persons
with disabilities. (applause) We’re expanding broadband
Internet access to Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. We’ve followed through with a
promise I made to create three new disability offices at the
State Department and Department of Transportation and at FEMA. And to promote equal rights
across the globe, the United States of America joined 140
other nations in signing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities — the first new human rights
convention of the 21st century. (applause) America was the first nation on
Earth to comprehensively declare equality for its citizens
with disabilities. We should join the rest of the
world to declare it again — and when I submit our ratification
package to Congress, I expect passage to be swift. (applause) And to advance the right to live
independently, I launched the Year of Community Living, on the
10th anniversary of the Olmstead decision — a decision that
declared the involuntary institutional isolation of
people with disabilities unlawful discrimination
under the ADA. (applause) So HHS Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan have worked together to
improve access to affordable housing and community supports
and independent living arrangements for people
with disabilities. And we continued a program that
successfully helps people with disabilities transition to the
community of their choice. (applause) And I’m proud of the work that
the Department of Justice is doing to enforce Olmstead
across the country. And we’ve finally broken down
one discriminatory barrier that the ADA left in place. Because for too long, our health
care system denied coverage to tens of millions of Americans
with preexisting conditions — including Americans
with disabilities. It was time to change that. And we did. Yes, we did. (applause) So the Affordable Care Act I
signed into law four months ago will give every American more
control over their health care — and it will do more to give
Americans with disabilities control over their own lives
than any legislation since the ADA. I know many of you know the
frustration of fighting with an insurance company. That’s why this law finally
shifts the balance of power from them to you and to
other consumers. (applause) No more denying coverage to
children based on a preexisting condition or disability. No more lifetime
limits on coverage. No more dropping your coverage
when you get sick and need it the most because your insurance
company found an unintentional error in your paperwork. (applause) And because Americans with
disabilities are living longer and more independently, this law
will establish better long-term care choices for Americans with
disabilities as a consequence of the CLASS Act, an idea Ted
Kennedy championed for years. (applause) Equal access. Equal opportunity. The freedom to make
our lives what we will. These aren’t principles that
belong to any one group or any one political party. They are common principles. They are American principles. No matter who we are — young,
old, rich, poor, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American,
gay, straight, disabled or not — these are the principles
we cherish as citizens of the United States of America. (applause) They were guaranteed to us
in our founding documents. One of the signers of those
documents was a man named Stephen Hopkins. He was a patriot, a scholar,
a nine-time governor of Rhode Island. It’s also said he
had a form of palsy. And on July 4, 1776, as he
grasped his pen to sign his name to the Declaration of
Independence, he said, “My hand trembles. But my heart does not.” My hand trembles. But my heart does not. Life, liberty, the
pursuit of happiness. Words that began our
never-ending journey to form a more perfect union. To look out for one another. To advance opportunity and
prosperity for all of our people. To constantly expand the meaning
of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. To move America forward. That’s what we did with the ADA. That is what we do today. And that’s what we’re going
to do tomorrow — together. So, thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United
States of America. Let me sign this order. (applause) (applause)

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