It is past time that we confront the ableism crisis in this country. Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities. Ableism is not just using derogatory terms, denying jobs to individuals with disabilities, or refusing to make businesses accessible to people with physical impairments. Ableism is also enacting systems that harm people with disabilities, or ignoring individuals with physical and mental disabilities when making policy choices. Ableism is the perception that anyone who does not meet societal norms of behavior or activity is “lesser.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed with wide-ranging bipartisan support over 30 years ago. Congress created the ADA “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” In passing the ADA, Congress recognized that discrimination against individuals with disabilities is particularly insidious because, in addition to the conventional understanding of discrimination, the disabled are discriminated against when society fails to treat them differently by refusing to offer accommodations.