Judy Heumann, often referred to as the "mother" of the disability rights movement, lived a life full of many achievements.

Accessibility.com was honored to have Judy Heumann, along with Caroline Casey (Valuable 500), as our Keynote Speakers for our 2021 AccessibilityPlus conference. 




A Life of Pushing Disability Rights Forward: Judy Heumann


  • 1947: Judith Ellen Heumann was born on December 18th, in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 1949: At 18 months of age, Judy contracted polio. This led to her use of a wheelchair for mobility.
  • 1970: Judy was denied a teaching license due to her use of a wheelchair.  She sued the New York City Board of Education. The case settled without a trial, and Judy became the first wheelchair user to teach in New York City.  She taught Elementary school for three years.
  • 1970: She founded Disabled in Action with other disabled activists. The organization's mission (directly from disabledinaction.org):

We are a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination against people with disabilities - all disabilities. We fight to eliminate the barriers that prevent us from enjoying full equality in American society. Founded in 1970, DIA is a democratic, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, membership organization. DIA consists primarily of and is directed by people with disabilities.

We believe in the motto, Nothing about us, without us!