IMPACT
07/30/2015 04:24 pm ET

Here's How We Can Ensure People With Disabilities Have Equal Rights

The U.S. still has work to do for disability rights, 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed.

President Obama recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and currently protects 54 million people. To commemorate the legislation, HuffPost Live spoke on Monday with Kristin Duquette, a five-time American Paralympic record holder, about the ways in which the U.S. needs to improve the act, including accessibility on airplanes.  

"Two years ago, I went to Johannesburg and my flight from Atlanta to Jo'Burg was 15 hours," Duquette told Alyona Minkovski. "I was on a plane that was not handicap accessible because no planes are. That's something that ... needs to get approved and improved."

Aside from everyday accessibility, people with disabilities still need jobs, said Rebecca Cokley, the executive director of the National Council on Disability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities was 12.5 in 2014, more than double the rate of those without a disability. 

"This isn't an ideological issue that should be separated by Democrats or Republicans, red states or blue states, representatives or Congress. This is a moral issue," Michael Morris, the executive director of the National Disability Institute, said. "This country has always taken the highest standard to set the bar high. ... People with disabilities in social, civic, economic participation should have all the rights of all other citizens."

Watch experts discuss what should be next for Americans with disabilities, and click here to watch the full conversation on the progress that's been made in America over the past 25 years.

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