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Disability Studies Series welcomes legendary activist Judy Heumann on April 6

A photo of Judy, a white woman with brown hair who uses a wheelchair, wearing glasses and a blue shirt with pink flowers, holding her two books, Being Heumann and Rolling Warrior


SUNY New Paltz is excited to present a virtual event with Judy Heumann, the “internationally recognized bad-ass disability activist” and former Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, on Wednesday, April 6 at 1 p.m.

In Conversation with Judy Heumann: Experiences of an Unrepentant Disability Rights Activist” is presented as part of the College’s annual Disability Studies Series, and will feature Heumann in conversation with Assistant Professor of Teaching & Learning April Coughlin about the past, present and future of disability rights.

The event will be fully accessible with ASL and CART live transcription available. Please use this link to access the event on Zoom (or scan the QR code at right) when it begins at 1 p.m. on April 6. View and download the event flier here.


About Judy Heumann

Known as the “Mother of Disability Rights,” Heumann is a pioneer in the development and implementation of equity legislation including Section 504, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Heumann contracted polio in 1949 and began to use a wheelchair for mobility. She was a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, which was the first grassroots center in the United States and helped to launch the Independent Living Movement both nationally and globally.

In 1983, Heumann co-founded the World Institute on Disability as one of the first global disability rights organizations working to fully integrate people with disabilities into their communities via research, policy and consulting efforts.

She served for the duration of President Clinton’s tenure as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education, and later served in President Obama’s Department of State from 2010-17.

As Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation from 2017-19), Heumann wrote “Road Map for Inclusion: Changing the Face of Disability in Media.”

Heumann currently 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, as well as the Human Rights Watch board. She is a featured subject in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” and author of the 2020 memoir “Being Heumann.

Her podcast, The Heumann Perspective, features rich conversations around disability culture, art, entertainment, policy and advocacy.


More information about this event

If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact the Disability Resource Center at drc@newpaltz.edu as soon as possible.

This program is presented and funded by a diverse collective of SUNY New Paltz campus partners and friends of the College, including Disability Resource Center, Division of Student Affairs, Faculty Development Center, Campus Auxiliary Services, and the Kressner Family Autism Spectrum Program Fund.

Additional Supporters include the Deaf Studies program, School of Education, Department of Teaching & Learning, Department of Educational Studies & Leadership, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Faculty Fellows, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Sojourner Truth Library, Office of Veteran & Military Services, RHSA and SA, Center for Student Success, and the Departments of Communication Disorders, English, Political Science, Sociology, Theatre Arts, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.