HHS Mourns the Loss of Disability Rights Leader Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann in 1982, with Ed Roberts, director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation. They called attention to the Reagan administration’s cutbacks in funds for programs for the disabled.Credit...John Duricka/Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) joins the disability community in mourning the loss of Judy Heumann, who passed away over the weekend. Judy was one of our nation’s greatest advocates and was a driving force behind key disability rights accomplishments. 

One of the founders of the independent living movement, she was instrumental to the passage of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her advocacy led to the first federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and to the U.N.’s adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Read on at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/03/06/hhs-mourns-loss-disability-rights-leader-judy-heumann.html.

Another article of interest – https://www.npr.org/2023/03/04/1161169017/disability-activist-judy-heumann-dead-75.

Deaf protesters worked with Judy Heumann to pass the 1973 Rehab law and helped spear improvements that created the ADA in 1990.  See https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/05/obituaries/judy-heumann-dead.html or https://dredf.org/504-sit-in-20th-anniversary/short-history-of-the-504-sit-in.

DAD Note: Without her early advocacy, disability [aka: civil] rights would have been delayed.  Meaning equal access to doctors, education or places may not have happened without her determination to remain in a federal building for nearly a month.  A group of deaf protesters were involved also and have shared their stories to show how they supported her work (i.e. ASL communication through windows to take food orders and give news updates, Judy waited for ASL interpreters before beginning meetings).  It brought light to an overlooked community in need of support so we thank her for her work to give us all a better life.  More work is still needed so please consider supporting a disability/civil rights group like DAD.