Dear Editor:

On July 26th, our country will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the passing of landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helped create a more inclusive environment across our country. It affirmed principles of equality and inclusion for people of all abilities and brought forth a promise of hope and freedom for those whose voice was often unheard. This work deserves to be celebrated.

The past few months have highlighted, however, that the expectations of the ADA and other civil rights legislation is far from complete. More must be done across America to ensure the civil rights of all our citizens.

As an example, unemployment numbers for people with disabilities have spiked as COVID-19 impacts continue. During our economic hardships, these individuals are often the first fired and last hired. Businesses must change this narrative to create and maintain meaningful employment opportunities for those in the disability community.

Employees with disabilities at Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) have helped keep essential operations running throughout the pandemic in the communities we serve.

Our teams have provided frontline support, including custodial support services at Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the VA Clinic- Viera, and at military bases in Florida’s panhandle, North Carolina and Puerto Rico.

Rest Areas along I-75 in five Florida counties have been kept clean and serviceable. Base Commissaries in Florida and Virginia have remained stocked and cleaned to provide groceries to our nation’s military and veterans. Riverside Dining has provided daily meals to those serving at Patrick Air Force Base.

BAC’s model of employment proves that the talents and dedications of our employees, including those with significant disabilities leads to excellent results for our customers and communities.

I encourage other businesses to put individuals with disabilities at the forefront of your hiring process. Make use of the wide array of technology advancements to enhance accessibility to your workplace. When we each do our part, in the spirit of the ADA, we can together guide our community toward a truly inclusive experience for all.

From Amar Patel,

President & CEO

Brevard Achievement Center

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