We join disability communities in California and around the world in mourning the loss of Judy Heumann, prominent disability rights activist, lawyer, advisor to two presidents and star of the film Crip Camp. Judy was actively working before her passing. We are sad to miss all the contributions she had yet to make, and cannot calculate the value of the decades of work she left behind.
Judy had polio as a child. She had to fight for the right to go to school, and she became the first teacher who used a wheelchair in New York State. They said she couldn’t, because someone who uses a wheelchair can’t be a teacher. She fought it and won. She was a key voice in the passing of 504.(which says people with all kinds of disabilities have the right to use government buildings) and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which says people with disabilities have the right to be anywhere in the country.
Judy was a strong ally to people with disabilities different from hers, including developmental disabilities. She will continue to be a role model in supporting people to follow dreams and meet big goals. We invite you to listen to a talk Judy gave in 2021 to a group of advocates hosted by Think College, which is an organization that works to support young people with intellectual disabilities to access inclusive college programs: https://thinkcollege.net/resource/advocacy-outreach/video-emerging-advocates-group-meeting-with-judy-heumann