Google Paints Stunning Portraits of Disability Rights Heroes on Washington, D.C., Steps

25th anniversary of ADA

In 1990, a group of disabled people pulled themselves up the steps at the U.S. Capitol building to advocate for the Americans With Disabilites Act, protesting delays in an event that became known as the Capitol Crawl.

Now, a new outdoor ad campaign from Google and 72andSunny marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark legislation by featuring painted portraits of key figures in the disability rights movement on the steps of major cultural buildings in Washington, D.C.

Posted from July 24-27, the billboards featured a range of notable activists—like Claudia Gordon, the first deaf female African-American attorney in U.S. history, and Ed Roberts, a leader in the drive for the ADA as well as the movement more broadly—at buildings like Gallaudet University and the National Portrait Gallery, respectively. They also celebrated legislators like former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island.

A quote accompanied each portrait. "This vital legislation will open the door to full participation by people with disabilities in our neighborhoods, workplaces, our economy, and our American Dream," reads Harkin's, posted on steps in the Newseum.

The steps leading up to the Carnegie Library also feature a quote—sans portrait—from President George H.W. Bush, who signed the ADA into law.

72andSunny hired artist Darren Booth to illustrate the campaign. An accompanying website features more in-depth tellings of each figure's role in the movement, including, in most cases, video interviews with the subjects themselves. It also ties more directly back into the brand's products, with a Google Map offering a "tour" of the locations that hosted the portraits.

Here are all the paintings and their locations:


Claudia Gordon at Gallaudet University


Tom Harkin at the Newseum


Patrick Kennedy at Woodrow Wilson Plaza


Justin Dart Jr. at Woodrow Wilson Plaza


Tia Nelis at the National Museum of American History


Kathy Martinez at the National Museum of American History


Ed Roberts at the National Portrait Gallery


Judy Heumann at the National Portrait Gallery


Tatyana McFadden at the National Portrait Gallery


Client: Google

Agency: 72andSunny

Artwork: Darren Booth

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.