By the President of the United States of America
Physical access is often the key to whether people can enjoy their rights and freedoms, and exercise their responsibilities. Every day, however, millions of elderly and handicapped Americans are denied access to places of employment, houses of worship, shops, schools, public services, recreational areas and many other facilities that other Americans take for granted.
If all Americans are to have true access, we must remove the architectural barriers in our society that block some of our people from full participation and self-reliance. We must also remove the barriers of attitude and custom that have prevented many people from doing what they can.
The Congress expressed its commitment to the removal of physical barriers from Federal buildings by enacting the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Act in 1968. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, created to enforce that act, will soon launch a national media campaign about barriers using the slogan, "Access America."
This Administration has taken steps to improve the access of handicapped citizens by issuing regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which require recipients of federal financial assistance to improve the accessibility of their programs to the disabled. We have also proposed a loan fund to assist institutions to pay for physical alterations when needed.
Many of the barriers that block people from opportunity and fulfillment are not subject to Federal regulation. Their elimination will require awareness and concern on the part of business and industry, state and local governments and organizations of all sorts, as well as individuals, in order that our society may provide access for full participation to all our people.
To encourage public awareness of the problems of such barriers, the Ninety-fifth Congress has adopted a joint resolution (H.J. Res. 578) requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week in May of 1978 and of 1979 as National Architectural Barrier Awareness Week and calling for its appropriate observance.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the third week of May, 1978 as National Architectural Barrier Awareness Week and ask all Americans to do all that lies within their power to remove these unnecessary barriers and to eliminate any lingering social and psychological stigma surrounding disabilities. Together we can make access a reality for all Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and second.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:14 p.m., April 25, 1978]