Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary celebrated at Canalside

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hundreds of people were at Canalside Sunday evening celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The anniversary party was held there for two reasons. One because it can hold as many people as the organizers hoped would come and two, to highlight just how many ADA changes have come since the act was signed.

Todd Vaarwerk has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair since he was in his 20s. A community advocate for people living with disabilities, he has seen changes for himself and others from the act.

“I want them going to work, I want them going to school. I want them participating in the American dream. The ADA is what underlies that,” Vaarwerk said.

The anniversary event going on at Canalside is being spearheaded by the Western New York Independent Living Organization.

Organization Director, Douglas Usiak said, “We assist people with disabilities to live, participate in the community like everybody else.”

This time 25-years-ago Usiak was standing on the White House lawn as the act was signed.

“I’ve had the ability to advance myself as a person who is blind because of it technologies,” he said.Adding, while the act has had many benefits, there are places in WNY including Canalside that still need to be developed to be ideal for people with disabilities

People at Canalside are pledging for 25 more years of continued acceptance and education for the disabled community. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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