International Day of Persons with Disabilities promotes an understanding of disability issues and mobilizes support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

December 3 marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an annual observance with the aim of promoting an understanding of disability issues and mobilizing support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

In 1990 the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which underscores the values of equal access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities and upholds that all people are entitled to a set of fundamental freedoms and protections regardless of ability status. The city acknowledges the long history of isolation and discrimination of people with disabilities and applaud the decades of activism and advocacy by the disability community to combat systemic exclusion and injustice. These champions have paved the way for more individuals with disabilities to pursue their full measure of happiness.

Despite the ADA there are enduring challenges for this community that require ongoing support so that they may enjoy the same levels of protections and service as others.

Protecting Against Discrimination in Boulder

The Human Rights Ordinance exists to protect against discrimination in Boulder and assist people who have been discriminated against in three areas, including:

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Public accommodation in places such as stores, restaurants, health clubs and movie theaters

Within these areas, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, color, creed, gender variance, genetic characteristics, immigration status, marital status, mental disability, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and source of income. In housing, it also prohibits discrimination based on custody of a minor child, parenthood and pregnancy. In employment, it also prohibits discrimination based on age, specifically 40 and older.

City Council enacted the Human Rights Ordinance in 1972 to create prompt, local protection and for classes not protected at the state or federal levels, such as sexual orientation, gender variance and genetic characteristics.

If you or someone you know has been the target of discrimination within city limits, you can file a claim through the City of Boulder’s Human Rights Ordinance. These services are available in any language. Learn more on the city’s website.

City Resources

The City of Boulder strives to exceed the requirements set forth in the ADA and to create a welcoming and supportive community. This is in line with the importance the community places on being a city that supports those with disabilities.

  • EXPAND - Since 1980, the Parks and Recreation Department’s (BPR) EXPAND program has been providing recreation and leisure activities to promote inclusion, health and connection. With over 100 programs, three camps and 2,000 participations in 2023, EXPAND continues to grow and change to best support the inclusion of people with disabilities.
  • Resources for Open Space and Mountain Parks visitors experiencing disabilities. Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) recognizes the importance of providing a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. Learn more about OSMP’s accessible trails, the department’s adaptive mountain bike program and other opportunities for people experiencing disabilities to connect with nature.

Community Resources

  • Association for Community Living (ACL) - An independent advocacy organization founded in Boulder in 1962. The ACL is part of a civil and human rights movement established in the 1960s in response to the denial of public education and concern about the routine institutionalization of people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) and their subsequent abuse in institutional settings. The ACL was instrumental in achieving the right to public education and community-based support services. Learn more on the ACL website.
  • Autism Society of Boulder County (ASBC) - An opportunity generator for people on the autism spectrum and their families, focused on filling support, recreation and training gaps in Boulder County. ASBC programs strive to meet the needs of all ages, ethnicities, cultures, genders, financial situations and levels of challenge within the autism spectrum. Learn more on the ASBC website.
  • Center for People with Disabilities (CPWD) - Provide resources, information and advocacy to assist people with disabilities in overcoming barriers to independent living. Learn more on the CPWD website.
  • Imagine! - Provides services designed to incorporate people with developmental, cognitive, and physical challenges into the fabric of their communities. Services include educational and therapeutic services, job training and placement, recreation and leisure activities, opportunities for community living, behavioral health services, technology solutions, and support for families. Learn more on the Imagine! website.

Americans with Disabilities Act Notice

Title II of the ADA requires that the City of Boulder make city facilities, programs, and services accessible to persons with disabilities in accordance with the standards of the ADA. If you are a person with a disability, or their designee, and have experienced a lack of accessibility or have been discriminated against because of your disability, please contact the city’s ADA Coordinator.