ADA 25 Chicago

Moving the needle, Chicago style!

People with disabilities are our parents, children, coworkers, attorneys, doctors, teachers and our public officials. ADA 25 Chicago commemorated the 25th anniversary of the ADA in 2015 by leveraging this historic milestone to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through building public awareness, as well as partner commitments in four key areas: EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, COMMUNITY INCLUSION and TECHNOLOGY.

ADA 25 Chicago includes educational, cultural, arts, sports and recreation events that were sponsored by program partners, from organizations in the four key areas creating a lasting legacy throughout the Chicago region for people with disabilities.

The Chicago Community Trust was the lead supporter of ADA 25 Chicago and assembled Honorary and Steering Committees to lead the initiative with the region's leading civic, business, cultural, educational, community and disability rights organizations.

Greater > Together

Please click here for an audio described version of the video.

Twenty-five years of expanding civil rights

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush who proclaimed, "let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down."

Chicago has been a long-term leader in disability rights with a robust community of actively engaged disability advocacy leaders and groups. The ADA ensures that people with disabilities have equal rights to pursue personal, educational and professional ambitions and to participate fully in public life. Thanks to the ADA, public transportation, public spaces and communications are now more accessible than ever.

Despite progress over 25 years, people with disabilities still have higher poverty rates, lower employment and educational outcomes than those without disabilities. The promise of full participation and economic self-sufficiency is unfulfilled.

In 2015, Metropolitan Chicago celebrated the 25th anniversary of this milestone civil rights legislation by coming together and finding opportunities to make the Chicago region the most inclusive in the nation.

To learn more about the ADA visit: Great Lakes ADA Center

Steering Committee


Marca Bristo, President and CEO, Access Living

Steve Pemberton, Vice-President and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance


Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Jack Catlin, Partner, LCM Architects

Donald A. Cooke, Senior Vice President, Philanthropy, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Kareem Dale, Director and Senior Counsel, Discover Financial Services

Wendy L. DuBoe, President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

Anne Edmunds, Regional Vice President, ManpowerGroup

Horacio Esparza, Executive Director, Progress Center for Independent Living

Thea Flaum, President, Hill Foundation,

Bob Gallo, IL State Director, AARP

Tatiana Gant, Executive Director, Illinois Arts Council Agency

Rey Gonzalez, President and CEO, El Valor

Mark Ishaug, CEO, Thresholds

Robin Jones, MPA, COTA/L, ROH, Director, Great Lakes ADA Center

Rasmus Lynnerup, Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Strategy Officer, City Colleges of Chicago

Terry Mazany, President and CEO, The Chicago Community Trust

Theresa E. Mintle, President and CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Rev. Joseph Mulcrone, Director, Catholic Office of the Deaf, Archdiocese of Chicago

Zena Naiditch, President and CEO, Equip for Equality

Tony Paulauski, Executive Director, The Arc of Illinois

Jorge Perez Izquierdo, Executive Vice President, Professional Diversity Network

Elliot Roth, MD, Medical Director, Patient Recovery, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Kathy Ryg, Former State Representative, State of Illinois

Carrie Sandahl, Ph.D., Director of Bodies of Work, Disability and Human Development, UIC

Erin Smith, ADA Task Force, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus

Kris Smith, Director, IL Division of Rehabilitation Services

Sidney T. Smith, Director, Brand Integrity, Baxalta

Melissa Stockwell, Paralympian, and CoFounder, Dare2tri

Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Lisa Thornton, MD, Medical Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation for KidsRehab, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and LaRabida Children’s Hospital

Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO, Donors Forum

Bernie Wong, President and CEO, Chinese American Service League

Kathleen Yosko, President and CEO, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

Expand (+)