Judith Heumann – disability warrior

Judith Heumann caught polio as a toddler in Brooklyn in 1949.  The disease left her paralysed, and her parents were told to put her into an institution.  Instead, they fought for Judy to go to school just like every other kid in the neighbourhood.

As a teenager, Judy went to summer camp and found a community of other disabled kids with high expectations like her.  Together they became a generation of disability rights activists who changed the world; staging sit-ins and protests to introduce a slew of radical changes from wheelchair accessible bathrooms and buses, to demanding sign language interpreters.

Judy was later invited to join both President Clinton’s and President Obama’s administrations, and she became the World Bank’s first adviser on disability and development.

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Date published:
Thu 26th Aug, 2021