Remembering Judy Heumann
On March 4, 2023, our community lost an icon. It feels like any effort made to commemorate Judy doesn't do justice to the significance of her and her life's work. Her tireless efforts profoundly impacted the lives of people with disabilities, and she will be dearly missed. Easy Does It and any agency connected to Disability Rights owe her everything. Our hearts go out to those of you who were close to her. So much has already been said we felt it was best to showcase work that honors her legacy.
Judy Heumann was a remarkable disability rights activist and leader whose tireless work helped to advance the rights of disabled people across the United States and around the world. Her lifelong commitment to disability rights and social justice made her a hero to countless people with disabilities and their allies. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.
Judy was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, and contracted polio when she was just 18 months old, which resulted in her being paralyzed from the neck down. Judy's advocacy work began in the 1970s when she helped to lead the fight for the rights of disabled people to attend public schools in New York City. She later became the chief organizer of the 504 Sit-In, a historic protest in which disabled activists occupied federal buildings across the country to enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities by federally funded entities.
Judy's leadership in the disability rights movement led to her appointment as the first Director of the Department on Disability Services in the District of Columbia. She later served as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services under President Bill Clinton, where she continued her work to promote the inclusion and rights of people with disabilities. Remembering Judy Heumann, let’s recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight for disability rights and social justice. Let us honor her memory by working to build a more inclusive and equitable society for all people, regardless of ability, and by continuing to fight against discrimination and oppression in all its forms.