The 1977 Disability Rights Protest That Broke Records and Changed Laws

Sunday marked 30 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This week we reflect on the protests and radical action that led to its signing:

On April 5, 1977, hundreds of people arrived to the planned protest march in San Francisco. After marching past the security guards at a local government office without resistance, over 100 protesters unpacked their knapsacks and began what became known as the 504 Sit-In. They demanded that the government enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stated that federally funded organizations could not discriminate against people with disabilities. The landmark takeover, which lasted about 26 days, remains the longest non-violent occupation of a U.S. federal building in history. The 504 Sit-In brought people together to forge coalitions that would later work to draft and pass the ADA.


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