Acclaimed disability rights expert to speak via Zoom at Ripon College Nov. 10

Internationally recognized disability advocate Judith Heumann will be a special guest Nov. 10 for Ripon College’s Center for Politics and the People. Her talk, “Judy Heumann: Our Fight for Disability Rights,” will be presented virtually via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Registration can be accessed at ripon.edu/rights.

Her story was featured in the award-winning 2020 documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution.” It was produced by Obama Higher Ground Productions and was nominated for an Academy Award. The documentary can be viewed for free on YouTube and Netflix. A special screening also will be held on campus Nov. 9, sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Politics and the People. The viewing will begin at 11:15 a.m. in Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union. The public is invited to attend.

Heumann has been called “the mother of disability rights.” She has been leading the movement for decades to advocate for the rights of those with disabilities, improving life for millions of marginalized children and adults.

She has been involved on the international front working with disabled people’s organizations and governments around the world. She represented Education Secretary Richard Riley at the 1995 International Congress on Disability in Mexico City; was a US delegate to the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, China; has been active with Disabled Peoples’ International, Rehabilitation International and numerous Independent Living Centers throughout the world; and co-founded the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, and the World Institute on Disability in Oakland California.

Heumann served in the Clinton Administration as assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services at the U.S. Department of Education; and in the Obama administration as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State.

She also has served as the World Bank’s first Adviser on Disability and Development and a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation.

Her work has produced significant contributions to the development and implementation of human rights legislation and policies benefiting children and adults with disabilities, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disability Act, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, leading the mainstreaming of disability rights into international development and extending the international reach of the independent living movement.

Her memoir “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” written with Kristen Joiner, was released in 2020. She also is the producer of The Heumann Perspective, a podcast and YouTube channel that aims to share the beauty of the disability community.


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