The Real Work Begins

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed on July 26, 1990. “Then the real work started, Christine Dahlberg explains. “Once you pass legislation, that's the first step, but that's only the very first step. Regulations are very critical.” Collaborating with government officials, Indiana ADA advocates began the long and difficult process of setting state-specific rules for implementing each article of the ADA. In 1991, the Indiana ADA Steering Committee (now ADA-Indiana) began its work as part of the Great Lakes Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (now Great Lakes ADA Center).

The federal government recognized the necessity for getting out information about the ADA’s provisions. It allocated significant funds to states for training initiatives. At the time, Christine was deputy director of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD). “I'm not sure what good star was shining on the ADA, but they really put a lot of money into it,” she relates. The national Disability Rights Education Defense Fund (DREDF) provided instruction in Indiana. Indianapolis advocate Karen Vaughn was there. “It's the most elite training on the ADA that you can get,” she remarks. “And it was eye-opening.”

With this foundation, the Indiana ADA Training Network was established via the GCPD in 1992. Nancy Griffin administered it and had been instrumental in the council obtaining the necessary funding. The trainings educated individuals with disabilities about their new rights, and businesses and other entities about their obligations. The expertise of Indiana’s network brought requests from other states. “In fact, we trained the entire civil rights staff of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Housing,” says Nancy.
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