Judith Heumann: Our fight for disability rights -- and why we're not done yet
Judith Heumann - Disability rights activist
Judith Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. Full bio
for three years.
in our Brooklyn neighborhood,
very helpful for my parents.
afraid of contagion,
in front of our house.
walk across the street.
when my family really began to realize
that I would live at home,
until I was 36 years old.
with my father one night,
when you were two years old,
suggested to your mom and I
go ahead with their lives
with all the disability-related things.
not because he was a liar,
I was really surprised by this story,
all across the United States,
in walking distance to our house,
up the steps into the school,
no, I couldn't come to that school
would send a teacher to my house.
in a real building
only with disabled children
mainly nondisabled children.
called sheltered workshops
or below minimum wage.
who left in the 1930s,
and they lost parents.
their parents in the Holocaust.
for me in my life.
I used a wheelchair,
in New York City, in the entire city,
back onto home instruction
with other parents.
make some of the high schools accessible.
a regular high school,
about what discrimination was,
that I needed to become my own advocate.
Long Island University,
and I took all the appropriate courses,
for me to go for my license,
up and down the steps
the doctor asked me
how I went to the bathroom.
for any kind of an interview,
of questions that people could ask you?
no disabled people using wheelchairs
I was expecting something bad.
that teachers show their students
that I was denied my job
sequelae of -- I'm sorry.
sequelae of poliomyelitis.
what the word "sequelae" meant,
and it meant "because of."
because I couldn't walk.
time in my life,
challenging the system, me,
of other friends who had disabilities
to move forward with this,
at Long Island University
at the "New York Times,"
about what had happened
what had happened was wrong.
in the "New York Times"
"Human v. The Board of Education"
came out in support
who was writing a book about civil rights.
I want to sue the Board of Education."
were aligned around this court case,
female federal judge --
when she saw it.
to offer me a job,
and I started teaching that fall
around the country,
you needed to be cured,
part of the equation.
from the Civil Rights Movement
about their activism
the Disability Rights Movement.
a couple of riddles.
to stop a bus in New York City
because you're in a wheelchair?
right in front of the steps
to learn how to do that,
vetoed the Rehabilitation Act.
to be promulgated to implement that law
With Disabilities Act, the ADA,
in fact be passed in the House or Senate,
the United States came together
on the lawn of the White House.
statements he had in his speech
of exclusion finally come tumbling down."
or maybe or even 40 or older,
there were no ramps on the streets,
bathrooms in shopping malls,
a sign language interpreter,
or other kinds of supports.
want laws like we have,
of Persons with Disabilities.
have joined this treaty.
human rights treaty
that we ratify the treaty.
into force until ratification,
no president can ratify a treaty
to enable us as Americans
people and governments around the world
that we've been doing,
have the same opportunities
don't have the same laws as we do
are more limited.
violence and rape
these forms of violence
and people that they know,
are not adjudicated.
where there's a quota system,
in the facility."
the door of your vehicle,
in the community with appropriate supports
lives of despair.
needs to be doing more to correct.
be doing together?
you can join at any point in your life.
how many of you have ever broken a bone?
you to maybe write a couple of sentences
has been like for you,
I couldn't do that.
They acted differently towards me."
and other disabled people see
and watching this TED Talk --
About the speaker:Judith Heumann - Disability rights activist
Judith Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people.
Why you should listen
Judith (Judy) Heumann contracted polio in 1949 in Brooklyn, NY and began to experience discrimination at five years old when she was denied the right to attend school because she was a "fire hazard." Her parents played a strong role in fighting for her rights as a child. Heumann determined that she, working in collaboration with other disabled people, had to play an increasing advocacy role as she and others experienced continuous discrimination because of their disabilities. She is now an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community and a lifelong civil rights advocate. As a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation, she is currently working to help advance the inclusion of disability in the Foundation’s work and is leading a project to advance the inclusion of disabled people in the media.
President Obama appointed Heumann as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State, where she served from 2010-2017. Prior to this position, she served as the Director for the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, where she was responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
From June 2002- 2006, Heumann served as the World Bank's first Adviser on Disability and Development. In this position, she led the World Bank's disability work to expand the Bank’s knowledge and capability to work with governments and civil society on including disability in the global conversation. From 1993 to 2001, Heumann served in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. She was also responsible for the implementation of legislation at the national level for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living, serving more than 8 million youth and adults with disabilities.
Heumann graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY in 1969 and received her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. Her goal in life is to continue to advance the rights and empowerment of ALL disabled people around the world. She is also currently building an online presence through The Heumann Perspective which can found on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Judith Heumann | Speaker | TED.com