Activist Judy Heumann led a reimagining of what it means to be disabled

Activist Judy Heumann: What It Means To Be Disabled
Photo of Judy Heumann courtesy of NPR News.

Judy Heumann was the first person I called when, in 1987, I reported my first story on disability rights. Judy, who contracted polio when she was 18 months old, gave me the quote that perfectly summed up that little-known civil rights movement.

“Disability only becomes a tragedy when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives — job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example,” she said. “It is not a tragedy to me that I’m living in a wheelchair.”

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