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to enrich and supplement what has been done. Today, we will be hearing about the progressive efforts of the Houston community in promoting greater access for all citizens and the relationship between these activities and the proposals set forth in the Americans for Disabilities Act.
We had hoped to have Congressman Mickey Leland in attendance at this morning's hearing when it was first planned. He was a true champion of human rights who fought for opportunity, hope, dignity and freedom for all people everywhere in the world. We mourn his loss as well as the loss of the other dedicated people who died in the ill-fated humanitarian mission to Ethiopia.
I would like to conclude by thanking the citizens of Houston again for their kind hospitality. I would especially like to recognize the contribution of-and associate my remark with the remarks of Congressman Bartlett-about Dr. Lex Frieden, former Executive Director of the National Council on the Handicapped, under whose direction the council issued the report, "Toward Independence," which led to the comprehensive legislation embodied in the Americans with Disabilities Act. I also want to recognize the tremendous efforts of the disability community, and all others, who helped to organize this hearing.
I would like to further acknowledge the presence of another great Texan, who is associated with the effort to promote this bill. He is probably the champion or the super volunteer in all of America, Justin Dart.
Justin Dart is the chairman of the Task Force on the Rights and the Problem of the American Disabilities. Justin Dart, using his own resources, conducted hearings in all of the states on this piece of legislation. We want to congratulate Mr. Dart on his recent appointment by the President to chair the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
(The prepared statement of Hon. Major R. Owens follows:)
AUGUST 28, 1989
I AM PLEASED TO RESPOND TO THE INVITATION OF THE HOUSTON COM
MUNITY TO HOLD THIS SUBCOMMITTEE ON SELECT EDUCATION HEARING HERE
TODAY ON H.R. 2273, "THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1989.
THIS IS THE SECOND TIME WE HAVE HELD A HEARING ON THIS BILL OUT
SIDE OF WASHINGTON,
DURING THE FIRST FIELD HEARING IN BOSTON,
MASSACHUSETTS, WE HEARD TESTIMONY FROM OVER 90 WITNESSES, AND AL
THOUGH IT IS NOT PART OF THE PLAN TO HEAR FROM AS MANY WITNESSES
TODAY, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE TO EXTEND THE GEOGRAPHICAL
PARTICIPATION BASE OF THIS BILL IN ORDER THAT THE SUBCOMITTEE CAN
RESPOND TO THE NATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION.
ALL OVER THE WORLD
FROM THE TOWNSHIPS OF SOUTH AFRICA AND
THE SHIPYARDS OF POLAND TO THE STUDENTS OF TIANEMEN SQUARE IN
CHINA PEOPLE WHO ASPIRE TO A BETTER LIFE LOOK TO THE IMAGE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AS THEIR GUIDING STAR. AS AMERICANS, IT IS OUR
DUTY TO WORK HARDER TO GUARANTEE THAT THIS IMAGE MORE AND MORE BE
AT THE SAME TIME, WE MUST WORK HARDER TO MAINTAIN
OUR LEADERSHIP ROLE,
EXPAND THE SCOPE OF CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ENJOYED BY ALL OF OUR
THE AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS NOT AN HISTORICAL CURI
OSITY BUT A LIVING, ACTIVE FORCE IN OUR DEMOCRACY THAT HAS ALLOWED
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT TO COME TO FRUITION.
WE RESOLVE TO FULLY USE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S AUTHORITY AND RE
SOURCES TO BETTER PROTECT AND EXPAND THE RIGHTS OF ANY GROUP, WE
STIMULATE THE PROCESSES OF EMPOWERMENT WITHIN THAT GROUP.
LEASE AND RECOGNITION OF NEW SKILLS AND TALENTS AND NEW LEADERSHIP
WILL GREATLY ENRICH THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY.
WEALTH OF HUMAN RESOURCES WILL BE GREATLY INCREASED BY THIS EMPOW
ERMENT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
THE PARALLELS WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT CONSTITUTE SIMI
LARITIES THAT DO NOT FRIGHTEN, BUT INSTEAD INSPIRE THE FORTY-THREE
MILLION STRONG COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES RESIDING IN
EVERY STATE AND SPREAD THROUGH EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE
FORTY-THREE MILLION CITIZENS IN DEMOCRATIC AMERICA DO NOT
NEED TO BEG FOR ANYTHING.
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT IS A PRODUCT OF A NEW
MOVEMENT WITHIN THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY. THE SPIRIT OF REVOLUTION OF DEAF STUDENTS AT GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY IS EMBODIED IN THE
THIS IS A NOBLE DOCUMENT WHICH DOES NOT BEG.
ARE MADE HERE.
A NOBLE TRUMPET IS SOUNDED HERE.
I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE PRESIDENT AND DEMOCRATIC LEADER
SHIP FOR THEIR WISDOM IN FORGING A BIPARTISAN BILL.
OUR TASK NOW
IS TO ENRICH AND SUPPLEMENT WHAT HAS BEEN DONE.
TODAY, WE WILL BE
HEARING ABOUT THE PROGRESSIVE EFFORTS OF THE HOUSTON COMMUNITY IN PROMOTING GREATER ACCESS FOR ALL CITIZENS AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE ACTIVITIES AND THE PROPOSALS SET FORTH IN THE
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.
WE HAD HOPED TO HAVE CONGRESSMAN MICKEY LELAND IN ATTENDANCE AT THIS MORNING'S HEARING. HE WAS A TRUE CHAMPION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WHO FOUGHT FOR OPPORTUNITY, HOPE, DIGNITY AND FREEDOM FOR ALL
WE MOURN HIS LOSS AS WELL AS THE LOSS OF THE OTHER
DEDICATED PEOPLE WHO DIED IN THE ILL-FATED HUMANITARIAN MISSION TO
I WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE BY THANKING THE CITIZENS OF HOUSTON
POR THEIR KIND HOSPITALITY.
I WOULD ESPECIALLY LIKE TO RECOGNIZE
THE CONTRIBUTION OF DR. LEX FRIEDEN, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON THE HANDICAPPED, UNDER WHOSE DIRECTION THE
COUNCIL ISSUED THE REPORT, "TOWARD INDEPENDENCE,' WHICH LED TO THE
COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION EMBODIED IN THE AMERICANS WITH DISABI
I ALSO WANT TO RECOGNIZE THE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS OF
THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY, AND ALL OTHERS, WHO HELPED ORGANIZE THIS
Mr. OWENS. I yield to Mr. Payne for an opening statement.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to be here with you and Mr. Bartlett today to hear testimony from persons here who we consider to be experts in the area of civil rights of American with disabilities.
As a member of the Select Committee on Education, I would also like to thank our witnesses for coming, and I would like to congratulate the people of Houston and this region for taking time and effort to be here this morning to show your strong support for this very important legislation.
Twenty-five years ago Congress gave America a vehicle to change the course of history. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, America could for the first time honestly acclaim an affirmative move toward justice and truth and democracy. Today, we take another step toward that foundation.
As we are charged with the task of making a critical decision that determine the quality of life for the majority, it is also our duty to protect the rights of the minority, those who society has defined by disabilities, yet whose abilities we know have no bounds. We must not hurtles to further imperil their future by our failure to enact this legislation, but a firm or unanimous and unconditional support this civil rights bill for disabled citizens.
The enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act gave a great opportunity for many minorities in this nation. Victory is often won by a coalition that begins with one person with a commitment, with a vision. During the history of our nation, we have seen ordinary people rise to become a catalyst for extraordinary movements. And illiterate slave named Frederick Douglas learned to read and write and became a world acclaimed poet, or to a statements. A poor Alabama seamstress named Rosa Parks fueled the civil rights movement by her desire for simple justice. And in a like manner, the small group of warriors captured the hearts and minds of this nation by bringing disability acts and rights in the Gallaudet University to the front page of the world press. Their courage inspired us, and their strong wills now challenge the 101st Congress.
As members of Congress, our role is to create a mutually supportive partnership of government, the private sector, labor and in courts to empower with full rights and privileges the nation's disability and disabled. And our pledge is to deliver to those citizens a nation that can truly claim liberty and justice for all.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.