Senator Tom Harkin Calls for Restoration of Americans with Disabilities Act
on the ‘Road to Freedom’ National Bus Tour

Advocates Living On the Road to Advance Disability Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)  joined a family of four, a prominent documentary photographer, and other advocates who are living and traveling aboard a bus during a yearlong, cross-country tour promoting civil rights protections for children and adults with physical, mental, cognitive, sensory and developmental disabilities. The “Road To Freedom” bus and traveling exhibit left Washington, DC last on November 15 with Yoshiko Dart, widow of the “Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” Justin Dart, Jr. aboard.

The bus tour, produced by ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR), has traveled more than 15,000 miles with 45 bus stop events in 32 states, gathering petition signatures, registering citizens to vote and attracting significant local media attention. It will return to Washington, DC this coming November.

The Freedom Bus rolled through Iowa last week amidst the campaigns of numerous presidential candidates. Senator Tom Harkin, an author and lead sponsor of the ADA joined the tour in Des Moines where he called on Congress to respond to the Supreme Court’s and lower Court’s narrowing of the ADA by passing the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. Speaking at an outdoor rally at Nolan Plaza, Harkin said, “Many individuals who Congress intended to protect under the ADA — including people with epilepsy, diabetes, and cancer — are no longer protected as a result of these court decisions. I am working to restore Congress’ original intent, and, once again, to ensure that all Americans with disabilities are protected from discrimination. The Road To Freedom bus tour will help us get this job done.”

Other highlights of the bus tour have included stops at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas; Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas; Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama; Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia; and dozens of state capitols and city halls throughout the Nation. In coming weeks, the tour bus will stop in Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Living on the bus are freedom riders Jim Ward, founder and president of ADA Watch/NCDR; Debbie Fletter Ward, former AOL vice president and director of accessibility; disability rights photographer, Tom Olin; and the Ward’s two boys, Zach, age 3 and Jake, age 2. Their efforts have been recognized by Governors, Mayors, Members of Congress, as well as disability rights leaders and advocates joining them at bus stop events across America.

The complete Freedom Bus tour schedule, tour rider bios, petition to contact Congress, photographs and more information on the tour and the ADA Restoration Act can be found at: http://www.roadtofreedom.org.