In this video, longtime civil rights activist and current president of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) Bernard Baker discusses life before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and why we need to stay alert and politically involved. As a young man with cerebral palsy, Bernard went to a public high school that was not accessible to people with disabilities. As he recalls, he may not have been able to attend his classes if it were not for two people. As Bernard puts it, “From the 9th to the 12th grade, that’s when I got mainstreamed…
“Because my high school teacher Mr. Schilling and his aide decided they were gonna carry all of us to classes.”
Today, after a long career fighting for the rights of people with disabilities and the passage of the ADA, Bernard continues forward. As he puts it, “I fight for people with disabilities to get what they need to live in the community. And live in their own homes… and have the freedom.”
Still, he emphasizes that we cannot take for granted the progress we have won. He says, “…We have to be the ones to keep the ADA. We have to be the ones to stay on our toes with the ADA.” He added,
“Because if you’re not careful just like they passed the [ADA], somebody can come in and take it right away from you.”
To make our voices heard and protect the advances we have made, Bernard plans to vote in the Georgia runoff elections and urges everyone who can to do the same. Find out more about voting in the Georgia runoff elections on The Arc of Georgia website.
Special thanks to the Arc of Georgia, the Georgia Advocacy Office, and SABE