Disability Rights Activist Judy Heumann, "Mother of the Disability Rights Movement," Dies at 75


(MENAFN) Renowned disability rights activist Judy Heumann has passed away at the age of 75. Her death was announced on her website and social media accounts, and confirmed by her brother Rick Heumann. He stated that Judy had been hospitalized for a week due to heart issues, possibly related to post-polio syndrome, which resulted from a severe childhood infection that left her unable to walk at the age of two. Despite her own struggles, Judy spent her life fighting for disability rights, both for herself and for others.

Judy Heumann has been called the "mother of the disability rights movement" for her lifelong advocacy on behalf of disabled people through protests and legal action. She was instrumental in lobbying for legislation that led to landmark achievements, including the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. From 1993 to 2001, she served as the assistant secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services during the Clinton administration.

President Joe Biden has hailed Judy Heumann as a "trailblazer" and acknowledged working with her to advocate for disability rights. He credited her with fighting for the inherent dignity of people with disabilities after being told she could not enter kindergarten due to her wheelchair. The president also recognized her leadership in two presidential administrations and in starting multiple disability advocacy organizations that continue to benefit people around the world.

Judy Heumann's legacy extends beyond her work in the United States. She was also involved in the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified in May 2008. Her impact on the disability rights movement has been widely recognized, with tributes pouring in on social media from dignitaries and past presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Despite her achievements, her brother emphasized that Judy's work was never about glory, but rather making things better for other people.

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