DisabilityCampaign.org informs Americans on disability and chronic health matters, raising awareness and advocacy to foster a culture that embraces people affected by disability and enables them to live to their fullest potential.
In 1988, Joni Eareckson Tada was invited to serve on the National Council on Disability under Presidents Reagan and Bush, a council that authored the first draft of the Americans with Disabilities Acts (ADA). Passed by Congress in 1990, the ADA was the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law on disability. After the ceremony of thousands witnessing President George HW Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, the entire National Council on Disability gathered for a special celebratory reception. It was there that Joni Eareckson Tada heard these memorable words from the National Council on Disability Executive Director, Paul Hearne:
“I want to propose a toast … This is a great law, and it will remove many discriminatory policies in hiring people with disabilities into jobs. And this law will mean that there will be ramps into restaurants. And it will mean that eventually there will be mechanical lifts on city buses … but this law will not change the hearts of employers. It will not change the hearts of maître d's at restaurants or theater owners. The law will not change the hearts of the bus drivers. So here’s a toast to changed hearts.”
DisabilityCampaign.org strives to change hearts, and we do it through printed, audio and visual media resources that inform Americans on disability and chronic health matters. Founded in 2009 by Joni Eareckson Tada, DisabilityCampaign.org is an extension of Joni and Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to serving people affected by disabilities and their families since 1979. DisabilityCampaign.org informs Americans on disability and chronic health matters, raising awareness and advocacy to foster a culture that embraces people affected by disability and enables them to live to their fullest potential.
“... but this law will not change the hearts of employers. It will not change the hearts of maître d's at restaurants or theater owners. The law will not change the hearts of the bus drivers. So here’s a toast to changed hearts.”
Joni Eareckson Tada
Joni Eareckson Tada, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, is an advocate for people with disabilities. A diving accident in 1967 left Joni, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. After two years of rehabilitation, she emerged with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations.
During her rehabilitation, Joni learned how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her fine art paintings and prints are sought-after and collected.
In 1979, she founded the international non-profit organization, Joni and Friends, which provides multiple programs to families with special needs in addition to the delivery of wheelchairs to disabled persons in developing nations.
Joni has served on the National Council on Disability, the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department and many other prominent advisory positions.
Joni was the first woman honored by the National Association of Evangelicals as its “Layperson of the Year” in 1986. She has received numerous awards and honors including the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award.
Six different universities have awarded Joni honorary degrees including a Bachelor of Letters and several doctoral degrees.
Joni has written over 50 books and numerous magazine articles. She received the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
Since 1982, Joni has hosted the "Joni and Friends" radio program featuring inspirational messages on more than 1,000 outlets reaching 1 million listeners a week. In 2012, the National Religious Broadcasters inducted Joni into its “Hall of Fame.”
Joni and her husband, Ken Tada, have been married since 1982.