Judy Humann, disability rights activist, dies at 75


Judy Hoiman, a well-known disability rights activist, has died at the age of 75.

News of his death Saturday in Washington was announced on his website and social media accounts, and was confirmed by the American Association of the Disabled.

Heyman’s exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was in the hospital for about a week but expected to go home, said Maria Towne, the association’s president and chief executive officer.

“In addition to all the political and legal battles he helped win and fight, he helped make disability not a bad thing, that the world doesn’t see it as someone who needs to be disabled and separate.” special place,” said Town.

DISPLAY: A brief but dramatic look at the disability rights movement

Heymann, who lost her ability to walk at the age of 2 after contracting polio, has been called the “mother of the disability rights movement” for her long advocacy for the disabled through protests and legal action.

He supported legislation that resulted in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Assistant Secretary of the US Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the Clinton Administration.

Hoyman also participated in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified in May 2008.

She helped found the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, the Independent Living Movement, and the World Institute on Disability, and serves on the boards of several related organizations, including the American Disability Association, the Disability Rights and Advocacy Foundation, Humanity and Inclusion, and the United States International Council on Disability. on its website.

Born in Philadelphia in 1947 and raised in New York, Heymann co-authored his own memoir, Being Heyman, and an adult version called The Rolling Warrior.

In her book, the parents tell about the difficulties they went through to get their daughter a place in school. “Children with disabilities have been disadvantaged economically and socially,” he wrote.

He then graduated from high school and earned a bachelor’s degree from Long Island University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. That was groundbreaking at the time, which shows how much things have changed, Wall noted.

“Children with disabilities today expect us to be able to join mainstream education, go to high school, go to college and get those degrees,” Towne said, acknowledging that disparities persist. “But I think it’s a very big deal that the basic hypothesis has changed, and I think Judy played a big part as well.”

He was also featured in the 2020 documentary Camp Jened: The Disability Revolution, which focused on Camp Jened, a summer camp Heyman attended that helped spark the civil rights movement. disability. The film was nominated for an Oscar.

DISPLAY: ‘It Was Like Freedom’: How a Camp for Children with Disabilities Changed Lives

In the 1970s, he won a lawsuit against the New York Board of Education and became the first teacher in the state to be allowed to work while using a wheelchair, which the board tried to declare a safety hazard. fire.

He was also a leader in the historic, nonviolent occupation of the San Francisco federal building in 1977, which paved the way for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990.

Towne, who has cerebral palsy, said Heymann suggested he use a mobility scooter to help him get around. He wasn’t ready to hear it at first after being told that he would have to pretend to be disabled for the rest of his life. Finally, he decided to give it a try.

“It changed my life forever,” Towne said. “It was a part of Judy. He really helped people to accept who they are as disabled people and be proud of that identity. He has helped many people realize their power as people with disabilities.

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