How did Judy Heumann die? Disability rights activist cause of death and obituary
Judy Heumann, a prominent activist who dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of disabled people, passed away at the age of 75 on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
Her passing was confirmed by the American Association of People with Disabilities, and the cause of death has yet to be disclosed.
Heumann, who contracted polio at the age of two and lost her ability to walk, devoted her life to fighting for disabled individuals' rights through legal action and protests.
Her unwavering activism earned her the title of the “mother of the disability rights movement,” according to her website.
Through her advocacy, Heumann helped pass legislation that paved the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Rehabilitation Act.
She also served as the assistant secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services under the Clinton administration, from 1993 to 2001.
In addition, Heumann played a pivotal role in the passing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.
She helped found the Berkley Center for Independent Living, the Independent Living Movement, and the World Institute on Disability and sat on the boards of several related organizations.
Heumann's memoir, “Being Heumann,” co-authored by her, highlights her parents' struggle to find her a place in school, as kids with disabilities were considered a hardship.
Despite these challenges, Heumann went on to graduate from high school and earn a bachelor's degree from Long Island University and a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2020, Heumann was featured in the documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” which chronicled her experiences at Camp Jened, a summer camp for disabled individuals. The film was nominated for an Academy Award.
Heumann made history in the 1970s by winning a lawsuit against the New York Board of Education, becoming the first teacher in the state to work while using a wheelchair.
She also led a nonviolent occupation of a San Francisco federal building in 1977, setting the stage for the Americans With Disabilities Act's passage.