Twenty-six years after Congress passed the American with Disabilities Act, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton argued at an Orlando rally that the country still has a long way to go in treating people with disabilities as equals.
Speaking at a gym inside the Frontline Outreach Center on Wednesday afternoon, Clinton outlined her vision for Americans who long have been "invisible, overlooked and undervalued."
"Nearly one in every five Americans lives with a disability," she told the crowd of about 300. "If you don't think you know someone with a disability, I promise you – you do."
The Democratic candidate was introduced by disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza, who worked with Clinton when she was a New York senator and says Clinton has fought for people with disabilities to have a seat at the table since her days with the Children's Defense Fund, where she worked to make public education accessible for children with disabilities.
"Hillary has invested in me, supported me and believed in me," Somoza said. "She has shown me that every ounce and aspect of myself is a strength that can be used to change the world."
Clinton called for an end to subminimum wages
, a loophole which allows employers to pay their employees with disabilities far less than the minimum wage, and for an emphasis on getting people with disabilities jobs. The former Secretary of State says disability advocates tell her they don't want people's pity — what they need is paychecks.
Clinton also introduced her new plan, "Autism Works," which plans to help Americans with autism find work and build an inclusive economy. The rights of people with disabilities moved to the forefront in the 2016 election after Clinton's opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, mocked
a New York Times
reporter with a physical disability back in 2015.
"Whether they can participate in our economy and lead rich, full lives that are as healthy and productive as possible is a reflection on us as a country," Clinton says.
At the beginning of her speech, Clinton focused for a few moments on the Pulse massacre and the recent police shootings.
"Orlando has been through a lot this year," she says. "You showed the world what Orlando is made of — strength, love and kindness."
Clinton ended her speech without mentioning Trump once, but alluded to him in her final remarks.
"In the United States America, the greatest country in the world, we believe in everyone," she says. "And you know what else we all believe? We believe love trumps hate."