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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Proclamation 6350 -- National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 1991

1991-10-08

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

No nation, no matter how wealthy, has ever been able to afford the waste of human talent and potential. That is particularly true today, as the world economy continues to grow in size and sophistication. If the United States is to remain strong and prosperous in the increasingly technological, increasingly competitive global marketplace, then we must employ the creativity, energy, and skills of all of our citizens -- including the millions of Americans with disabilities who are both eager and able to work.

The estimated 43 million Americans who have disabilities constitute a rich, yet too often untapped, national resource. Because each of these Americans, like every other citizen, is a full heir to the promise of ``life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,'' our Nation has a solemn obligation to provide them with equal opportunities in education and employment. Doing so is not just in the best interest of the United States, it is also one of the best ways we can affirm our belief in the inherent rights and dignity of all individuals.

It is gratifying to report that we are already making progress. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act required, among other measures, that five specific Federal agencies establish implementation regulations or guidelines. Most of those regulations -- relating to employment, public accommodations, transportation, and communications -- have been proposed. On July 26, 1991, the first anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I issued a memorandum to the heads of all Federal departments and agencies directing that the Federal Government serve as a model for the Nation by providing equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in recruitment, hiring, and career development.

Of course, while government can lead, it cannot do the job alone. The success of the Americans with Disabilities Act will depend on the express commitment and the sustained cooperation of public officials, educators, business and industry leaders, and persons with disabilities. A little over a year ago, when I signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for persons with disabilities, the United States became the international leader on this human rights issue. As other nations seek to bring their disabled citizens into the mainstream of national life, we can truly say that the Americans with Disabilities Act will affect the lives of millions of people around the globe.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved August 11, 1945, as amended (36 U.S.C. 155), has called for the designation of the month of October of each year as ``National Disability Employment Awareness Month.'' This special month is a time for all Americans to recognize the unlimited potential of persons with disabilities and renew our determination to provide equal employment opportunities for them.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1991 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I call on the people of the United States to continue working to guarantee for Americans with disabilities equal employment opportunities and all of the full rights and privileges of citizenship.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:28 p.m., October 8, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 10.

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