A Champion and Pioneer

A Champion and Pioneer

On this last day of Women’s History Month we highlight a woman who was a champion and pioneer in an often-overlooked movement. 

Judy Heumann spent decades reforming a political establishment indifferent to the circumstances of people living with disabilities and won one victory after another, ultimately joining the very establishment she once struggled with, died earlier this month at age 75.

Having contracted polio at 18 months of age, Ms. Heumann began her career in activism as an adult, working tirelessly to be able to work as a teacher in New York City, when discrimination against people with disabilities was largely dismissed as a problem.

She went on to become an official in two presidential administrations, and a fellow or board member at some of the nation’s leading nonprofits. She was also featured in the touching and inspirational Oscar-nominated 2020 documentary “Crip Camp.”

Over time, she saw a revolution occur in the government’s involvement in the lives of people with disabilities. And she, as much as anyone else, helped bring about that revolution.

We honor her life and legacy today as a woman of strength, courage, and perseverance. She triumphed against the odds and changed the lives of those living with disabilities. She brought dignity and value to millions who have historically been dismissed and disregarded as persons of value and worth.


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