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Human Service Forum to Host Attorney Steven Schwartz on Nov. 18

HOLYOKE — The Human Service Forum (HSF) will welcome attorney Steven Schwartz, litigation director for the Center for Public Representation, on Wednesday, Nov. 18 for a presentation titled “The ADA: Successes and Challenges for Ensuring Full Equality.”

This past July, America marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil-rights law designed to promote full citizenship and equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. But how much has that promise been realized? Like most visionary laws and social reforms, only somewhat. In certain arenas, like equal employment opportunities, the past quarter-century has been marked by a series of disappointing Supreme Court decisions, consistent (more than 90%) court victories for employers who refuse to hire or accommodate employees with disabilities, and even a major legislative initiative to amend the ADA to rebalance the legal landscape.

In other areas, and especially with respect to the historical segregation of persons with significant disabilities, the ADA has radically restructured the provision of public services in many state systems, and created a warning signal to those states which refuse to integrate their public and private programs.

Both of these trends are likely to continue for the next decade, with new targets for the ADA’s integration mandate and, most importantly, a profound cultural change in public awareness of the contributions of citizens with disabilities in all aspects of community living.

The event will take place from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. The cost is $25 for HSF members, $30 for non-members. Online registration is available at www.humanserviceforum.org.

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