Judy Heumann, ‘mother of the disability rights movement,’ dead at 75

TOKYO, Japan (December 4, 2014) Ambassador Caroline Kennedy welcomes Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann to Japan. Special Advisor Heumann is visiting Japan to discuss disability rights and initiatives during the country’s Disability Week. [State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain]

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.”






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