Commemorating the ADA’s 32nd Anniversary: Marsha Mazz Reflects

By Nick Adjami and Liz Stuewe
July 26, 2022

32 years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. Last week, Accessibility Rights Manager Liz Stuewe spoke with ERC Board Member Marsha Mazz about how the disability rights landscape has changed over the years. We’ve clipped some of our favorite moments from their conversation below. The full video is available on YouTube.

Marsha grew up without the legal protections or assistive tech available now. Her mom and a team of volunteers supported her and other low vision kids by typing up school books into large print. “That work kept us in public schools,” she says.

In grad school, Marsha found that people with disabilities were treated like a problem that needed fixing. Since then, she’s built her career on the idea that the problem isn’t people, it’s the inaccessible environment around them.

Marsha recognizes the potential building codes have to advance access for people with disabilities – she’s spent decades of her career dedicated to that cause. She says, “I’m a firm believer of getting everything into the building code I can.”


The ERC is a civil rights organization that identifies and seeks to eliminate unlawful and unfair discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in its home community of Greater Washington DC and nationwide. The ERC’s core strategy for identifying unlawful and unfair discrimination is civil rights testing. When the ERC identifies discrimination, it seeks to eliminate it through the use of testing data to educate the public and business community, support policy advocacy, conduct compliance testing and training, and, if necessary, take enforcement action. For more information, please visit 

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