Judith Heumann, RIP
There are so many incredible women in our country that not enough Americans know. It is something that has infuriated me for decades. Why is our first thought, “who is he?” regarding game-changing leadership or genius entrepreneurs?
I watched the documentary Crip Camp when it was at Sundance. I was blown away by the film, but mostly I was blown away by Judith Huemann. She was a brilliant force of nature, a trailblazer, and she died this weekend. She will be forever known as the mother of disability rights.
Her impact on disability rights for our nation is unparalleled. She understood that getting anything through Government took decades. She stuck with it. The documentary highlights jaw-dropping dates when the new lay of the land became law. It says a lot about our country.
Heumanns’ contributions began with suing the Board of Education in 1970 when she was denied a teaching license because the board did not believe she could not get herself out of the school if there were a fire. The support around that founded DIA (Disabilities in Action), an organization securing rights for people with disabilities, something vetoed by Nixon in 1972. It was in 1990 when Bush finally signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act into law.
The world would be a lot better off with more Judith Huemanns. May she rest in peace knowing her immense impact on the world is astounding.