Photo from Mississippi Emergency Management Agency's Twitter

MEMA is one of the few emergency management agencies with a Disability Integration Advisor serving at the state level.

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the ADA.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is one of only a few state emergency management agencies with a Disability Integration Advisor serving at the state level to ensure those with disabilities can access resources during a disaster.

“It’s our mission at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to ensure ALL Mississippians are prepared for and can recover from a disaster. The Americans with Disabilities Act is vital in us carrying out our mission,” said MEMA Chief Communication Officer Malary White.  “We’ve learned a lot of lessons when recovering from disasters and the disability community should be considered when it comes to sheltering, evacuations, medical needs and more. Disasters are tough for everyone, and no one should feel like a second-class citizen for simply having an additional need.”

Sondra Lee-Bell is the Disability Integration Advisor at MEMA.

President Joe Biden signed a proclamation marking the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Vice President Kamala Harris is meeting with advocates from the disability community.

“On July 26, 1990, with the signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our Nation created the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. Since that time, this landmark legislation has been a driving force in moving America closer to the promise of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for the 61 million individuals with disabilities in our country,” the President’s proclamation said.

“The ADA prohibits disability discrimination by State and local governments; provides standards for access to places of public accommodation; protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace; and ensures equal access to health care, social services, transportation, and telecommunications.  But even more than that, it enshrines the idea — central to the spirit of our Nation — that all of us are deserving of equal dignity, respect, and opportunity,” the proclamation continued.

Vice President Harris said that for 32 years, the ADA has allowed us to make progress toward a more inclusive and accessible society.

“We will continue to strive to be a model of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, today and every day,” Harris said.