Fear, rage, courage, discrimination. These are facts of everyday life for many Americans with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made working, traveling, and communicating easier for many individuals. But has this significant piece of civil rights legislation helped those with disabilities become fully accepted members of society? How does an individual deal with discriminatory situations that the law cannot, does not, or will not cover? What is life like in post-ADA America? The stories in this collection give readers a chance to visualize and perhaps resolve these questions for themselves. Using the techniques of both fiction and creative non-fiction, the contributors bring to life the everyday problems that people
with disabilities face. Rather than analyzing the law, the writers dramatize the complex set of issues underlying the ADA as it is practiced and interpreted around the country: at a small Southern college, in the Library of Congress, on a New York City sidewalk. The stories from these local battlegrounds form a unique portrait of a continuing struggle. Ruth O'Brien's legal commentary on the Americans with Disabilities Act supplements these narratives. Organized analytically to reflect the ADA's main provisions, her commentary draws out and responds to the legal issues raised in each contributor's narrative. Discussing relevant Supreme Court and federal cases, O'Brien addresses key legal questions such as: What recourse do individuals have when enforcement of the law is
ambiguous or virtually nonexistent? What is a disability? How will its changing definition affect individuals' lives-as well as their legal actions-in the future? Voices from the Edge seeks to challenge the mindset of those who would deny equal protection to the disabled, while providing informative analysis of the intent and application of the ADA for those who wish to learn more about disability rights. Giving voice to many types of discrimination the disabled face while illustrating the personal stakes underlying legal disputes over the ADA, this collection offers unparalleled insight into the lives behind the law.
Edited by Ruth O'Brien, Professor of Government, John Jay College of Criminal Justice