Celebrating National Disability Independence Day at DCTC

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson and Melissa Fletcher

Campus recognizes ADA signing July 26, 2023, during Ready, Set, Go!

Dakota County Technical College celebrated National Disability Independence Day July 26, 2023, on campus in the Dakota Room during the Ready, Set, Go! lunch session. Ready, Set, Go! is a recurring student-focused event at DCTC. July is Disability Pride Month.

Melissa Fletcher

National Disability Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990. Melissa Fletcher, the college’s director of educational access and disability resources, led the session.

“Honoring the 33rd Anniversary of the ADA is important not only in recognition of DCTC students, staff, and faculty with disabilities, but also highlights all the hard work that has led to legal access,” Melissa said. “As we continue to move towards true disability inclusion, it was great to create a space and consider where we’ve come…and what we can do next.”

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson, lead student ambassador at the college, assisted with the presentation and shared study tips for neurodivergent students.

“I wanted to share my experiences as a student who uses accommodations the ADA provides, and how integral they are to my success as a student,” Bailey said. “I hoped by sharing how important the ADA is to me personally and some study methods I’ve found helpful as a person with learning disability, demonstrating it’s absolutely possible to succeed, that neurodivergent people in the audience might seek out the amazing help that’s available to them.”

Michael Berndt, president of DCTC and Inver Hills Community College, attended the session. “Growing into our commitment to create an equity-minded and inclusive campus means not only celebrating milestones in social justice—like signing the Americans with Disabilities Act, it also means working continually to ensure all our students have supports in place to be successful,” President Berndt said.

View Melissa and Bailey’s PowerPoint presentation by clicking the image below:

More about National Disability Independence Day…¹


In the United States, July 26 is recognized annually as National Disability Independence Day, commemorating the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990.

The ADA, first introduced in 1988, was designed to build on the progress of the Rehabilitation Act. The goal was to expand the rights of the disability community in a single law by ensuring their freedom from employment discrimination and access to all levels of government, public establishments, transportation, and communication.

Congress passed the bill in 1990 with strong majorities in both legislative bodies: 327–28 in the U.S. House of Representatives and a 91–6 vote in the U.S. Senate.

The landmark legislation has served as a de facto bill of rights for Americans with disabilities by assuring their access to economic and civic opportunities. Its passage represented an unprecedented bipartisan effort to acknowledge the centuries of discrimination suffered by the disability community, and a fundamental change to how they live their lives.


DCTC administrator perspective

Anne Johnson

“The celebration to honor National Disability Independence Day was a huge success thanks to Anna Voight, associate director of student life and Neurodiverse ERG chair, and Melissa Fletcher, director of educational access and disability resources. The celebration was a chance to understand the history and movements associated with disability rights and awareness.

“Importantly, the day uplifted and honored those with disabilities as well as advocates. My hope is that the day increased awareness and understanding of disabilities and that it marked the beginning of improving inclusivity and belonging of people with disabilities into the DCTC community through additional programming and support.”

Anne Johnson
Vice President of Student Affairs
Dakota County Technical College

Celebrating National Disability Independence Day at DCTC gallery

Accessibility Services at DCTC

Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) provides support services for qualified students with disabilities, who may obtain assistance during any phase of their educational process, including admissions, registration, advising, instruction, and placement.

DCTC faculty and staff are committed to providing students with disabilities the appropriate accommodations to ensure access to programs, services, and activities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) section 504.

However, the student with a disability has the same obligation as any other student to meet and maintain the college’s academic standards. While we offer special assistance to students with disabilities, we do not make academic requirements easier or change the essential nature of a course or program.

Learn more about Accessibility Services at DCTC by contacting:

Melissa Fletcher
Director of Educational Access & Disability Resources
Dakota County Technical College

¹ SOURCE: AgLearn