Judy Heumann, ‘mother of the disability rights movement,’ dead at 75
I just read an article from the CBC News about the passing of Judy Heumann yesterday at the age of 75. She was said to be the “mother of the disability rights movement”.
Judy was born December 18, 1947, and at the age of 18 months contracted Polio. It was from this point that she was confined to a wheelchair. She often throughout her life rejected cliches about disability as a tragic experience, saying
“Disability only becomes a tragedy for me when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives––job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example. It is not a tragedy to me that I’m living in a wheelchair.”
Along with much policy work and achievements she also co-founded the World Institute on Disability with Ed Roberts and Joan Leon in 1983, serving as co-director until 1993.