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WHEREAS, 2020 marks the 35th anniversary of the Virginians with Disabilities Act and the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
WHEREAS, the Virginians with Disabilities Act, passed in March of 1985, protects Virginians with disabilities from discrimination under any state program or activity, by employers in hiring and promotion, by educational institutions receiving state funds, in the use of public places and in places of public accommodation, in housing, and in the exercise of the right to vote; and
WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed July 26, 1990, represents one of the most comprehensive civil rights laws for citizens with disabilities, providing protections against discrimination in employment and ensuring equal access to government services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications; and
WHEREAS, the Virginians with Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Acts ensure the civil rights and empowerment of individuals with disabilities, enabling them to be contributing members of their communities and achieve their dreams; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia affirms the principles of equality and inclusion for individuals with disabilities as set forth in the Virginians with Disabilities Act and embodied in the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
WHEREAS, both acts ensure maximum integration of all individuals with disabilities and allow them the dignity to contribute to our economy and our society; and
WHEREAS, on January 2, 2020, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Forty-Seven and Executive Directive Six, which dramatically expanded the scope of support for individuals with disabilities in higher education, employment, and state services; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth strives to be a leader in inclusivity for individuals with disabilities by prioritizing hiring and workforce diversity and ensuring community integration; and
WHEREAS, as we commemorate this anniversary and all that these landmark laws have made possible for the disability community, we recognize that their full promise can only be reached if we remain committed to fully implementing the Virginians with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
WHEREAS, in 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia celebrates the barriers that came down 35 years ago in Virginia and 30 years ago across the nation and reaffirms its commitment to the rights and independence of people with disabilities, and to building a Commonwealth that is welcoming, inclusive, and accessible for all;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize 2020 as the COMMEMORATION OF THE 35th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIRGINIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND THE 30th ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.