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Lakin interviewed on 20th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

Lakinstaff_photo_web_quality_ybgjekxj7.jpgCharlie Lakin, director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living and associate director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), gave an extensive interview on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark piece of legislation aimed to give disabled people the freedom to participate in all realms of life: housing, education, employment and public venues. Twenty years later there have been many accomplishments, but many consider the ADA part of an ambitious social revolution that remains unfinished.

Lakin, who has spent four decades working on disability issues, said Minnesota shouldn't be smug as there's still much to be done in the state. Lakin sees the ADA as a milestone, not a transformation.

"You can walk down a sidewalk, come to a curb cut. You can go to a hotel and you can get in. You can go to restaurant and there's a way to get to a table," he said. "That infrastructure is just terribly, terribly important. But being physically present in society is still not necessarily membership."

Lakin said people with disabilities still feel particularly unwelcome in the workplace. He points to a substantially higher unemployment rate among disabled people, by some estimates as high as 70 percent. But he is encouraged by what he's hearing from the Obama Administration about enforcing the ADA.

The MPR story also includes an interview with ICI community liaison Cliff Poetz.

Listen to the MPR story below.

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