32nd Establishment Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


This year marks the 32nd establishment anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Today, PNC spoke with the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities about how the ADA impacted Guam in assisting its people with disabilities better.

Here’s more…

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When the ADA became law in 1990, the civil rights law worked to ensure equal access to different areas of public life for persons with disabilities.

More accurately, the law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in areas such as employment, education, and transportation, to name a few.

In addition to the ADA offering civil protections, it lent itself as a catalyst for fostering changing views regarding disability rights.

Guam made similar advancements for the independence of people with disabilities in 1997, following Guam Public Law 24-16, which established DISID– which comprises two divisions: The Divison of vocational rehabilitation, which focuses on education and employment, and the Division of Support Services, which focuses on the social work activity, like matching individuals with the appropriate agencies and non-profits that provide assistance, in short.

When asked how the establishment of the ADA impacted Guam, Jeffery Warfield Sr., who fills various roles at DISID, highlighted the difficulties of operating support services at a local level in addition to how the ADA aids the department and individuals with disabilities alike.

Jeffrey Warfield said, “When that federal law comes into play, then the states have to set up their own entities to be able to implement that on a local level, right? And so therefore, there is a necessity for an agency like DISID. Unfortunately, on our support services side, we’re completely locally funded. So, although there’s this mandate and we have this entity, we don’t receive federal funds to do what we do on the social services side…but it does, the ADA, give us a little bit of teeth, it gives us the foundation to stand on, regulations and guidelines to be able to go out and address issues in the community.”

According to data from the CDC, 24,206 adult individuals have a disability in Guam– a statistic that does not include children. This statistic emphasizes the significance of the services facilitated by DISID, which are imperative to a large majority of Guam’s community– thus, why funding support is crucial.

However, in addition to more funding, Warfield offered alternative ways in which Guam’s community could better support individuals with disabilities.

Warfield said, “We just need to be more aware and pay attention to people, notice individuals with disabilities, don’t always assume that because someone looks “normal,” that they’re not disabled, because there are unseen disabilities.” He added, “To me, it’s more of just public awareness, be sensitive to the needs of other people; if someone asks for help, do the best you can to assist them.”

Warfield also expressed the need to de-stigmatize disability to remove the shame of seeking assistance for those who need it.


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Starting as the weather personality for the Pacific News Center in 2019, then as a reporter, Destiny Cruz is now PNC’s lead anchor, producer, writer, and TV host for two of Sorensen Media Group’s shows. Over three years at PNC, Destiny has covered issues impacting our island in areas including legislation and health, to name a few, in addition to highlighting the meaningful stories of Guam’s community in features and lifestyle. Corresponding with her professional growth, Destiny has acquired personal achievements that have contributed to her development as a dynamic woman: she is a proud graduate of the Guam Community College, earning her degree in liberal studies, a former Miss Guam (Miss World Guam 2017), and singer/songwriter.