Our Mission

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The mission of ADA Watch is to promote and defend the civil and human rights of people with physical, mental and all types of disabilities. ADA Watch and the Coalition for Disability Rights & Justice (CDRJ) work to AMPLIFY the voices of the U.S. Disability Rights Movement.

  • ADA Watch is a nonprofit alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local nonpartisan organizations united to defend and promote the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other human rights protections for people with physical, mental and all types of disabilities.
  • ADA Watch aims to prevent the rolling back of laws designed to allow people with disabilities to live, learn and work in their own homes and communities.
    ADA Watch is a national grassroots educational and media campaign informing policymakers, media and the public about our movement’s history and power. ADA Watch convenes stakeholders and provides timely updates, action alerts and tools to inform and mobilize the grassroots, all in order to preserve and advance our rights and freedoms.
  • ADA Watch is a program of the Coalition for Disability Rights and Justice (CDRJ), a nonprofit alliance of disability, civil rights, human rights and social justice organizations. CDRJ programs also include Road To Freedom bus tour, Disability Rights Concert series, Media and Public Awareness Campaign, Campaign for Fair Judges, and more.

The Social Good Fund is our 501c3 fiscal sponsor.

ADA Watch/CDRJ builds and supports coalition between social change movements. Our initiatives have united disability, civil rights and social justice organizations to defend and advance the human rights of people with physical, mental and all types of disabilities.

Our constituency consists of the one-in-four Americans with disabilities, their families, their advocates and more.

A bronze justice scale balanced equally on both sides.

CDRJ promotes rights-based approaches and the social model of disability with the goal of instilling individual, organizational and movement empowerment.

Our coalition efforts first launched in 2000, with disability rights icon and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Justin Dart, Jr. serving as our founding chair. Justin was widely acknowledged as the “Father of the ADA.” Patrisha Wright, the disability community’s “ADA General,” also served as chair in our early years.

Jim Ward, a former elected official, longtime human rights advocate and person with a disability, is our founder.

ADA Watch/CDRJ founding advisory council members included Judy Heumann, Becky Ogle, Bob Kafka, Curtis Decker, Claudia Gordon, Mike Oxford, Jennifer Mathis, Ron Bassman, Tom Olin, Bob Kafka, Marca Bristo, Bobby Coward, Susan Henderson, Nancy Starnes, Brewster Thackeray and others.

From our beginning, we have worked to highlight and strengthen the disability movement’s connection to the civil rights and social justice communities. Our founding advisory council included progressive leaders and organizations like Wade Henderson and the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights; Nan Aaron and the Alliance for Justice; and Ralph Neas and People for the American Way.

Our efforts have recently been revitalized with a generous planning grant from the Ford Foundation’s U.S. Disability Rights Program under the direction of celebrated disability rights leader Rebecca Cokley, the liaison to the President’s Council for Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy.

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