It is with a profound sense of loss that ANCOR responds to news that President George H.W. Bush passed away late Friday at the age of 94.
President Bush believed in and invested in the dignity of people with disabilities, a commitment most clearly demonstrated by his tireless work to champion the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ANCOR was proud to stand with President Bush on the front lawn of the White House on that hot July day in 1990 when he signed the ADA into law.
The political road the ADA took en route to becoming the law of the land was full of twists and turns. Navigating that long and winding road required flawless leadership and unwavering commitment to people with disabilities, and on both fronts, President Bush rose to the occasion. His commitment to bipartisanship, his own sense of self and his dedication to people excluded from opportunities that should be core to the American experience were at once hallmarks of President Bush’s leadership style and markers of his true character.
“The ADA has left an indelible mark on the civil rights of people with disabilities in the United States, but more than that, President Bush’s impact on the lives of people with disabilities can be felt all around the world,” said Robert Budd, President of ANCOR and CEO of Family Residences & Essential Enterprises, Inc. “Countries across the globe have modeled their own disability laws off the ADA, and the legislation later went on to serve as a model for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
“There is so much I admire about this extraordinary American,” said ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill of President Bush upon learning of his passing. “From his heroic service during World War II to his strong friendship with the man who denied him a second term in office, we all have something to learn from President Bush. May his legacy of humility, bipartisanship and commitment to advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities be an inspiration to all of us during these trying times.”
Angela King, CEO of Volunteers of America of Texas and ANCOR’s Immediate Past President, echoed Merrill’s admiration for President Bush’s leadership. “President Bush and his wife, Barbara, reminded us of the dignity of the office of the President, the courage to speak the truth, and the willingness to compromise for the good of our country,” said King. “I join my fellow Texans in celebrating the legacy of a good man and my fellow Americans in remembering our 41st President.”
At the ADA signing ceremony, President Bush concluded his remarks by saying, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” May the president’s words inspire us all as we mourn the loss of a giant and continue our own work to tear down the many walls of exclusion that still remain in our nation.