Judy Heumann, disability rights activist, dies at 75

The American activist behind the Americans with Disabilities Act, Judy Heumann, has died at 75. 

Ms. Heumann's activism began as a college student at Brookville, N.Y.-based Long Island University, where she led rallies and demanded accessibility improvements like ramps to classrooms and dorms. She also later drove activism that led to the passage of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Ms. Heumann served under the Clinton administration as the assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services from 1993 to 2001 and later served under the Obama administration as the special adviser for international disability rights.

"Judy Heumann's impact cannot be overstated — every hard-won victory for disability rights since the 1960s stems directly from her leadership and advocacy," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a March 6 press statement. "Because of her, people with disabilities are guaranteed equal access and opportunities to go to school, build careers, and live the lives they want to live. Judy shaped the world we live in today, and we all are better for it. Our hearts go out to her husband Jorge, and all who knew and loved her."

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