By Lisbet Dula, ECI Board President
Judy was one of us, and everything she did was for us.
Judy Heumann, a disability civil rights warrior, passed away recently, but her legacy is with us every day.
Every ramp we use, every time we request a sign language interpreter or large print or braille, every time we hire a new personal assistant... This is all possible for us because Judy and her work with disability advocates across the country wanted a world where this all existed.
When Judy was born, there were no civil rights for people with disabilities. A person with a disability couldn't go to public school, buildings had only steps, buses had no wheelchair lifts, sidewalks had no curb cuts, and we were not encouraged to work, live on our own, or have any goals or dreams for our lives.
When Judy started out, she didn't know how to change things; she just knew things needed to change. So, she reached out, met many people with different skills and the same dream, and they literally changed our world.
It's up to us now to keep it going. We must be vigilant and not let any of these rights be taken back. We need to keep moving forward. When you need to advocate for yourself and others, do it! Then, when you stand up for your rights and for all your friends with disabilities, say, "this is for Judy."