Judith Heumann

Disability Rights Activist

October 26, 2022 — 4:10 PM
University of California, Berkeley — UC Berkeley Campus

Add to Google Calendar 10/26/2022 4:10 PM 10/26/2022 6:00 PM America/Los_Angeles “The Status Quo Loves To Say No”: Disability Rights and the Battle against Structures of Exclusion

About the lecture Disability rights activist Judy Heumann has been fighting for inclusion for over six decades, in ways that transformed legal and societal understandings of equality. Her life-long experience has included co-founding the organization Disabled in Action, working on … Continued

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About the lecture

Disability rights activist Judy Heumann has been fighting for inclusion for over six decades, in ways that transformed legal and societal understandings of equality. Her life-long experience has included co-founding the organization Disabled in Action, working on Capitol Hill to shape landmark disability rights laws, co-organizing the extraordinary protest and advocacy efforts that spurred the implementation of Section 504, and advising presidential administrations and the World Bank on disability issues. This lecture, delivered in a conversational format, will focus on those aspects of her journey that are most salient to the perils and possibilities of the present. Heumann sees in this moment a fragile and imperfect democracy, but one that is nonetheless worth investing in. She also sees deep structures of exclusion, vigorously defended but also vulnerable to political pressure and moral suasion. Discussion will also address why progress, while being meaningful, has still not been as significant as she believes it should be.

About Judith Heumann

Judy Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of legislation, such as Section 504, the Individuals with Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Her memoir, “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” co-authored by Kristen Joiner, was published in 2020. She is also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, directed by James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham. Judy produces a podcast called The Heumann Perspective, which features a variety of members from the disability community.

Judy serves on a number of non-profit boards, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Humanity and Inclusion, and Human Rights Watch. She has 20 years of non-profit experience working with various disability organizations, including being a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living. Prior to starting the Judith Heumann LLC, she served in the Clinton and Obama administrations.

About Karen Tani

Karen M. Tani is the Seaman Family University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is jointly appointed in the law school and the history department. A scholar of U.S. legal history, she has broad interests in social welfare law, disability law, administrative agencies, and the role of rights in the modern American state. She is the author of States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935-1972 (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Other scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal, the Law & History Review, the California Law Review, and the Disability Studies Quarterly, among other outlets. She began her teaching career at UC Berkeley, where she also developed her interest in the history of disability law and the disability rights movement.