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Message from the President and CEO: Remembering Judith Heumann (December 18, 1947 – March 4, 2023)

Mar 7, 2024 |

The Amputee Coalition has cultivated a community of individuals throughout the globe who bring life to our community through fierce advocating, leadership, and willingness to share personal stories with the world. The Amputee Coalition vision: a world where our community thrives and a mission to support, educate, and advocate for people impacted by limb loss and limb difference is held as a priority in the daily commitment to serve through our programs and resources knowing there are 5.6 Million ++ Americans living with limb loss and limb difference.

The Amputee Coalition intentionally utilized partnership as the way forward but also as a significant pathway to make lasting changes in universal design for our community. The power within our individual stories and commitment to advocacy make ripples that will never cease to create an unwavering impact on human rights as we continue advocating for disability rights. We take time to remember a life, legacy, and activist who has forever changed the world, created accessibility rights for millions, and energized the disability rights movement forever, Judith “Judy” Heumann. At the New York University commencement to the 2020 and 2021 class, Judy said, “No one person ever creates a movement” and we are honored to be a national non-profit a part of a greater movement advancing civil rights.

We reflect with gratitude and inspired action on Judy’s action leading the 1977 galvanizing sit-in group in San Francisco, the address given by Judy Heumann at the 1988 joint Senate-House hearing, on the Americans with Disabilities Act, her frequent speeches at the grass-root to federal level, and the revolution that would follow and continues to elevate the disability rights movement globally. Her life and these historic moments in history will not go forth without the continued fire and energy for acknowledging that you can’t address social justice without the inclusivity of the disability community. Judy’s compassion, drive, and commitment to fight for change in the world will continue. The Amputee Coalition work has been exponentially impacted by Judy’s life specifically in our advocacy and government relations work.

Our Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Whitney Doyle reflects, “Judy Heumann has inspired countless individuals to use their voice to advocate for themselves and others. Judy’s leadership and commitment to change have led to significant strides in the civil rights of people who have disabilities. Because of Judy, more people can equitably access the world around them.

Judy led the historic 28-day sit-in protest in 1977 to the implementation of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federally funded programs and services. The Amputee Coalition is proud to continue Judy’s work. In November 2023, the Coalition signed on to two letters sent by partner organizations to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services regarding a proposed rule to update Section 504. Judy’s legacy continues as more people who have disabilities stand up for their rights. I am humbled to lead the Amputee Coalition’s advocacy efforts, to ensure that people who have limb loss or limb difference have the tools they need to advocate for themselves and the community.”

As the Amputee Coalition continues we will always remember the unprecedented impact and incomparable dedication to change from Judy’s life and advocacy to continue the momentum that is creating access and rights for millions around the world. We remember her sacrifices, dedication, and life-changing contributions as the spark she ignited continues to impact and change the world.