People with Disabilities Count, and Count the Years

Published July 23, 2022 | Commission on Disability | Updated September 29, 2022 | Automatically Archived on 8/7/2022

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Sudbury Commission on Disability exists because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) combined with the commitment made twenty-nine years ago by a vote of Sudbury’s Town Meeting.  The COD is grateful for and honored to participate in the work of the ADA as the whole country celebrates the ADA’s 32nd Anniversary.

During Disability Pride Month, on July 26th we celebrate this civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Click here for a graphic timeline that gives you the history of the ADA including the years of work and development before its passage in 1990.

Click here to find a wide choice of training options that are free and offer information about myriad aspects of the ADA that may be useful to you in your work and day to day life.

In 2018 Sudbury COD renewed its mission with this commitment: 

The Commission on Disability was established by the Town of Sudbury, by a Town Meeting vote, to cause the full integration and participation of people with disabilities in our Town, in accordance with M.G.L. Ch. 40, s.8J. 

The Commission works independently and in collaboration with other Town boards and departments to eliminate barriers and to assist people living with disabilities in becoming empowered to advocate for themselves.

Our Bylaws cite the specific tasks Section 8J exhorts CODs to accomplish:

  • research local problems of people with disabilities
  • advise and assist municipal officials and employees in ensuring compliance with state and federal laws and regulations that affect people with disabilities 
  • review and make recommendations about policies, procedures, services, activities and facilities of departments, boards and agencies of said city or town as they affect people with disabilities
  • provide information, referrals, guidance and technical assistance to individuals, public agencies, businesses and organizations in all matters pertaining to disability
  • coordinate or carry out programs designed to meet the problems of people with disabilities in coordination with programs of the Massachusetts Office on Disability
  • coordinate activities of other local groups organized for similar purposes

In 2019 Sudbury COD distilled these tasks into three core functions to guide our work:  Assess, Educate, Assist.  As Sudbury COD approaches its own 30-year anniversary, we celebrate the improvements made by the ADA civil rights law and the endless hours of work on the ground of its advocates to level the playing field, literally and figuratively, so that people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community life.