Senator Tom Harkin — the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act — is in Iowa this weekend for events planned to celebrate the anniversary of the law. The act was signed into law 15 years ago, on July 26th. Harkin will speak at events today (Saturday) in Des Moines and Sioux City. Tomorrow (Sunday), he’ll be in Cedar Rapids to throw out the first pitch at the Cedar Rapids Kernels game on A-D-A Day at the ballpark.On Monday, Harkin will be back in D.C. for an event at the Kennedy Center to mark the A-D-A’s passage. Former President George Bush will be there, too, because he signed the bill into law. There’s an award called the George Bush Award to honor people who pursue civil rights for the disabled. Former President Bush won the first Bush award, in 1993. Harkin won it the next year, and the two men will join together in Washington to reveal the recipient of the 2005 Bush award. Harkin will lead a “fighting for freedom” rally at the Des Moines Farmers Market starting at 10:30 this (Saturday) morning, then he’ll be in Sioux City at the Anderson Dance Pavillion at two o’clock for a celebration of the A-D-A’s 15th anniversary.”Not even I expected the progress and the transformation that the A.D.A. has created over the last decade and a half,” Harkin says. “Prior to the passage of this landmark civil rights law, Americans with disabilities routinely faced prejudice and discrimination and exclusion, not to mention the physical barriers to movement.” Harkin says his work on the A-D-A was inspired by his brother, Frank, who was deaf.
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