Tuesday, July 26, 2022, marks the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George H. W. Bush. Congress passed the law to protect individuals with special needs from discrimination in multiple areas such as employment, governmental services, public transportation and public accommodations.
In San Antonio, we observe ADA every day in the ongoing pursuit of truly living up to our growing reputation as “Inclusion City, USA.” This means we’re constantly seeking ways to serve all citizens of San Antonio in an inclusive, equitable and accessible manner. During festivities in 2015 marking the 5th birthday of world-renowned, Ultra-Accessible™ Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming San Antonio as “Inclusion City, USA.”
Since then, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County have taken major steps forward in modifying City Hall and the Bexar County Courthouse, respectively, to make those facilities truly accessible to all citizens, especially those with physical and cognitive special needs. In addition, San Antonio International Airport has made improvements to make travel easier for our citizenry and guests from around the world.
In the near future, more information will be forthcoming about the debut of Inclusion Circle in Plaza De Armas adjacent to City Hall. This designation will further underscore San Antonio’s determined efforts to be an inclusive community for all.
Meanwhile, in keeping with the spirit of ADA and “Inclusion City, USA,” Morgan’s Wonderland has expanded into a “family” of endeavors designed with those with special needs mind and built for everyone’s maximum benefit. Growth has sparked the addition of award-winning Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park; Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex; Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, offering a summer-camp-type experience year-round; and the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, or The MAC, which will be unveiled this fall and revolutionize the delivery of services – medical, therapeutic and those related to social determinants of health – to the special-needs community.
And let’s not forget that San Antonio is now home of the annual Special Olympics Texas Summer Games, the organization’s largest competition that attracts thousands of athletes from all across the state.
As we mark the 32nd anniversary of ADA’s signing, we wish to thank those elected officials and community leaders who’ve been passionate about truly making San Antonio “Inclusion City, USA.” We’ve come a long way in a relatively short span of time, but I truly believe we’re just getting started.
As I’ve said for more than a decade, “Together, we ARE making a difference!”
Gordon Hartman is founder – along with wife Maggie – of non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland and executive chairman of Morgan’s Inclusion Initiative, named for daughter, Morgan, who’s been the inspiration for multiple ventures and initiatives to help the special-needs community.