Pictured from left: Rashida Kamara, GM of East Bay Paratransit Office; Kathleen Kelly, interim GM of AC Transit; Joe Wallace, AC Transit Board of Directors; Robert Raburn, BART board of directors; Elsa Ortiz, AC Transit board of directors vice president; Chris Peeples, AC Transit board of directors president; Laura Timothy, BART manager of Access and Accessible Services; Mallory Nestor-Brush, AC Transit Accessible Services manager
Oakland, Calif.'s AC Transit and BART hosted a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in September, coinciding with the grand opening of the new East Bay Paratransit office in Uptown Oakland.
“The world changed for people with disabilities when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 25 years ago,” said AC Transit Board President Chris Peeples. “Our goal is to make the East Bay as accessible for our disabled riders as it is for everyone else. The partnership we have with BART to provide paratransit services is an important piece of our effort and we thank them for their participation. We will continue to make accessibility a priority at AC Transit.”
The ADA is one of the cornerstone legislative achievements of the 20th century, an unprecedented leap forward in expanding accessibility as a civil right for people with disabilities. Since the ADA’s signing in 1990, AC Transit and BART have worked to ensure disabled residents are able to enjoy the many benefits of public transportation. The two agencies joined together in 1994 to form the East Bay Paratransit Consortium (EBPC), which provides services in their overlapping areas.
Pictured from left: AC Transit Board President Chris Peeples; Mistress of Ceremonies Robert Gonzales; and Keynote Speaker Jan Garrett, program manager, Pacific ADA Center wait for the program to begin.
The celebration included a tour of the new facilities, an explanation of the services EBPC provides, and speeches highlighting the critical importance of disabled access 25 years after the ADA’s signing. Jan Garrett, program manager at Pacific ADA Center and former executive director of the Center for Independent Living, gave the keynote speech alongside other honorable speakers, such as City of Oakland Policy Director for Transportation and Infrastructure Matt Nichols and both AC Transit and BART Board members.
Local city council members, mayors, school board members, state officials, federal officials and advocates for the disabled and organizations also attended.