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among associato attorneys, a willingness eagerly to perform the hardest or least-desired tasks on assigned matters, and a readymade desiro to achieve excellence in practice that is difficult to instill in any employee. I know from whence I came, and I would just as soon not go back.

In addition to these measurable benefits. the ADA represents the idea of possibilities to millions of Americans. The ADA is a statement to millions of Americans with disabilities that we may all dare to dream. It is a statement to even more Americans that if they or a loved one were to develop a disability, they would not need to stop dreaming. The ADA simply makes possible for persons with disabilities what we have always wanted to believe about America -- that the truest measuro of a person is the content of that person's character, and not the color of the person's skin. or the presence of a disability. For the above reasons. I heartily urge you to adopt tho ADA as it is composed in the Senate compromise.

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Mr. EDWARDS. We now hear from the Rev. Scott Allen, who is a member of the National Commission on AIDS.


COMMISSION ON AIDS, WASHINGTON, DC Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I'm Rev. Scott Allen, a Commissioner on the congressionally mandated National Commission on AIDS. I am pleased to provide testimony on the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with particular focus on antidiscrimination protections for people with HIVrelated conditions.

My work with AIDS has been varied and diverse. I am employed by the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. My specific experience began with AIDS when I was the founding director of the AIDS Interfaith Network of Dallas, an organization that provides AIDS education for our religious communities and pastoral care for persons living with AIDS, as well as their family members and loved ones.

In addition, I have served as a member of the Dallas County AIDS Planning Commission, and on the Legislative Task Force on AIDS for the State of Texas, chairing the State Responsibility Subcommittee. As a citizen, minister and participant in the development of AIDS policy at the local and State level, I fully support the Americans with Disabilities Act. I urge the House to move expeditiously, so as to provide important redress for the acts of discrimination that have such devastating impact on the lives of many Americans, particularly those with the HIV virus and with AIDS.

As a Commissioner for the National Commission on AIDS, I am charged with the important task of advising Congress on the implementation of the recommendations of the President's Commission on the HIV Epidemic. Admiral Watkins and the other Commissioners are to be commended for their exhaustive and thoughtful articulation of the important issues related to the HIV epidemic.

As you well know, the centerpiece of their recommendations was the passage of a bill to address discrimination experience by people with AIDS and HIV infection. They specifically recommended comprehensive Federal antidiscrimination legislation which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the public and private sector, including employment, housing, public accommodations, and participation in government programs, should be enacted.

All persons with symptomatic or asymptomatic HIV infections should be clearly included as persons with disabilities, who are covered by the antidiscrimination protections of this legislation. That recommendation was endorsed by President Bush immediately after issuance of the Commission's report. One year after the President's Commission made that recommendation, the ADA moved through the Senate. The President's endorsement was clearly a key factor in the Senate's overwhelming passage of ADA.

It is now incumbent upon the Congress, with the assistance of the National Commission, to move this bill as quickly as possible without damaging amendments. Truly, with an epidemic that has affected more than 100,000 Americans with 37 million other Americans with the disability awaiting the protections guaranteed under this act, the political and moral imperatives are clear.

To underscore the priority of the ADA, the National Commission on AIDS passed its first resolution in support of this bill. We stated: We the members of the National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome strongly support passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, legislation which would implement the key recommendation of the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus epidemic.

People living with AIDS and HIV infection and those regarded as such deserve the same discrimination protections as all people with disabilities. Such protections from discrimination are not only necessary to enhance the quality of life for people with AIDS and HIV infection, they are, as the Presidential Commission and the Institute of Medicine have reported, the linchpin of our Nation's effort to control the HIV epidemic.

Thousands of Americans who would seek voluntary counseling and testing services, and many who need lifeprolonging medical treatment, will not come forward if they believe that doing so could result in the loss of their job or lack of access to public accommodations.

Legislation that is based not only on compassion but sound public health principles is a must if we are to reach and assist these individuals. We are extremely pleased that the majority of the U.S. Senate and the White House have made a bipartisan commitment to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act. We oppose any effort to reduce the scope of coverage of the present bill, particularly in respect to HIV, the special focus of this Commission.

The ADA will provide a clear and comprehensive mandate to greatly extend discrimination pr tections for people with disability. We are proud to endorse this landmark legislation.

A diagnosis of HIV infection and its related diseases is clearly a devastating event in a person's life. The subsequent act of irrational discrimination that occurs has been one of the unfortunate landmarks of our Nation's response to the HIV epidemic.

A review of a front-page headline over the past 8 years will awaken in most of us the urgent need for a bill like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Remember, Ryan White, denied entry to school. The Ray family, burned from their home. A woman with AIDS denied entry with her children to a public swimming pool. A bright young attorney forced into poverty because he was fired from his job.

The ADA will not be able to address all forms of private discrimination, but it will provide protections in the critical areas of private employment and public accommodations. Mr. Chairman, you may wonder how a Baptist minister from Texas sojourned through the local ministry to families affected by AIDS to city and State task forces and then finally to the national level and congressional testimony on this bill.

The answer is simple. I have seen first hand the dual tragedy of HIV infection and illness, coupled with the cruelty of discrimination. I walk with people on a daily basis who encounter the cruelty of discrimination. I've listened to their words of bewilderment as to how a society as ours could be so callous to a person who is sick. malik CERTO

edical insur our societ positive anatus, mights ht that

I have seen families living in absolute fear at the thought that one of their family members' HIV positive status might be disclosed. I witness people who are HIV positive and who are healthy, contributing members of our society, lose their jobs, lose their homes, their medical insurance and other necessities of life due to discrimination.

The question always arises how can people be so mean? How can our society be so cruel? With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Congress will be able to lead our societal structures in providing a compassionate response of equal protection to people with disabilities in our Nation, including people with HIV infection. These stories and hundreds like them provide the impe tus for action for the National Commission on AIDS and for millions of compassionate and concerned Americans.

The wonderful work of many commissions and task forces that have addressed the AIDS epidemic have virtually expressed unanimous agreement that antidiscrimination protections are the cornerstone to addressing the complex public policy issues presented by AIDS. The good work of these dedicated and concerned citizens has moved many city and State legislatures to enact antidiscrimination measures. But a great deal more needs to be done.

In my own experience, neither the city councils of Dallas County nor the Texas State Legislature have formally adopted the recommendations made by the commissions established to advise them. The action by the U.S. Senate last month was the first hopeful and direct statement that perhaps the Congress will take the leadership and move the ADA, with the blessing of President Bush, in a timely manner.

Please be assured that for myself, the Commission and most importantly persons living with HIV and their loved ones, this action is enthusiastically welcomed. Mr. Chairman, our Nation's public policy is dependent on the responsible and informed actions of Congress. The ADA is a bill that utilizes 15 years of antidiscrimination protections for people with disabilities in federally assisted programs and extends those protections to the private sector.

The bill's inclusion of people with HIV infection, AIDS and those who care for them is a hallmark in our fight against this epidemic. There may be yet challenges against inclusion of such individuals. Exclusion would be a tragic mistake. As Secretary Sullivan, a fellow Commissioner has stated, discrimination against individuals with a virus is unacceptable. This administration is committed to enacting legislation that will prohibit such discrimination.

Therefore, I urge you to remember that this bill has the strong support of the President. Bipartisan leadership of the Congress, a multitude of national organizations including public health professionals, religious communities, service organizations and advocacy groups, and particularly the National Commission on AIDS.

We as a nation have the blessings of wealth and resources. We pride ourselves in our compassion and spirit. In passing the ADA, the Congress will embody the best of the American spirit and send the needed message that equal rights and compassion are a standard that this Nation will uphold with pride and vigilance.

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