• Tag Archives disability history
  • The 5 Leaders Continuing the Legacy Ed Roberts Started

    Who is keeping Independent Living connected to what matters today?

    Photo of disability activists in the 1970s - Judy Heumann, Ed Roberts, and others in wheelchairs.

    Thanks to Ed Roberts’ work, Independent Living as we know it has evolved into a program, a movement, and a culture. We have chosen to highlight 5 disabled leaders who are shaping what Independent Living is today.

    The Independent Living Movement is founded in the belief that people with disabilities, regardless of the form, have a common history and a shared struggle, that we are a community and a culture that will advance further banded together politically.

    About Independent Living
    National Council on Independent Living

    Judith “Judy” Heumann 
    Ed Roberts asked Judy to move to California to work for the Center for Independent Living where she served as the deputy director from 1975 to 1982. She was an early adapter of the Independent Living Movement.  
    She was responsible for the implementation of legislation at the national level for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living, serving more than 8 million youth and adults with disabilities.  
    Today, Judy continues to advance the human rights of disabled people around the world through her online presence, The Heumann Perspective. This new project is intended to broaden and spur discussions on the intersectionality of disability rights.
    Learn more: https://rootedinrights.org/spotlight-on-disability-rights-advocate-judy-heumann/

    Victor Santiago Pineda, PhD
    Dr. Victor Pineda is a “serial social impact entrepreneur”, globally-recognized human rights expert, and leading scholar on inclusive and accessible smart cities. He is a two-time presidential appointee, and serves as the president and founder of Pineda Foundation / World ENABLED, and co-founder the film production company Windmills & Giants
    Dr. Pineda is highly sought after speaker and senior advisor to governments and fortune 500 companies on innovation, resilience and inclusive design. Dr. Pineda has a proven track record of conceptualizing and executing transformative projects with global companies around the world. He supported the drafting of local and national regulatory frameworks such as the Dubai Disability Strategy, and helped negotiate international agreements including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 
    Learn more: https://www.respectability.org/2017/12/dr-victor-santiago-pineda-senior-advisor/

    Alice Wong
    Alice Wong is disability activist, media producer, and a consultant who proudly identifies as Asian American and disabled.
    She is the founder and Project Coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project, a project collecting oral histories of people with disabilities in the United States that is being run in coordination with StoryCorps. The Disability Visibility Project was created on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. As of 2018, the project had collected approximately 140 oral histories.
    Her online presence through Twitter chats have gained the attention of the entire country using #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online movement encouraging the political participation of disabled people. She recently hosted a Twitter chats with Democratic Candidates Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg and is showing no signs of stopping!
    Learn more: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/about/

    Photo of a black man wearing a black tee shirt that reads 40th Year Celebration with a photo of a Black Panther demonstration. behind him is a slide with a photo of him as a youth and a photo of himself currently. Text: Black Disabled Art History 2020- Leroy F. Moore, Jr.

    Leroy F. Moore, Jr
    Leroy F. Moore, Jr. is the founder of the Krip-Hop Nation project and co-founder of Sins Invalid. Blogger BillyJam said that he “personified Independent Living” as someone who writes, lectures, and performs about the intersections of race and disability issues both in the United States and abroad.
    Leroy’s lecture series, “On the Outskirts: Race & Disability,” grew from his experiences with the black disability movement in London. Krip-Hop emerged from his interest in black musicians marginalized because of their disabilities.

    “The mission of Krip-Hop Project is to get the musical talents of hip-hop artists with disabilities into the hands of media outlets, educators, hip-hop, disabled and race scholars, youth, hip-hop conference coordinators, and agents and to report the latest news about musicians with disabilities.”

    Leroy F. Moore, Jr.

    Currently Leroy serves as the Chair of the Black Disability Studies Committee for the National Black Disability Coalition. He co-authored a children’s book called Black Disabled Art History 101.
    Learn more: https://www.deafpoetssociety.com/leroy-moore.

    Closeup photo of a Portuguese man wearing a suit and tie, smiling.

    Joe Xavier
    Just like Ed Roberts from 1976-1983, Joe Xavier is the Director of the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR).
    “I started as a supervisor over our Business Enterprises Services Field Office. Followed by four years as an auditor, if not the only, one of the first blind Auditors in the State of California. Then, three years as a Section Chief of our Business Services Section. And, the last six-plus years in an Executive capacity with the Department including Independent Living, the Specialized Services Division, and today the Director of the Department.”
    As Deputy Director, Joe had direct executive responsibility for Blind Field Services, the Orientation Center for the Blind, the Older Individuals who are Blind Program, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Section, the Business Enterprises Program, the Independent Living Unit, the Assistive Technology Unit, the Disability Access Section, the Client Assistance Program, the Public Affairs Office and the Traumatic Brain Injury Program. 
    Learn more: http://www.allgov.com/usa/ca/news/appointments-and-resignations/director-of-the-department-of-rehabilitation-who-is-joe-xavier-140314?news=852677


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  • California’s Black Disability History

    Compilation of photos of Black Disabled activists (L-R) Johnnie Lacy, Joyce Jackson, Donald Galloway and guide dog, and Bradley Lomax. Red, yellow, and green dots accenting the image. Text: California's Black Disability History
    California Pioneers from left to right: Johnnie Lacy, Joyce Jackson, Donald Galloway, and Bradley Lomax. Original photos by Ken Stein.

    In honor of Black History Month, we at the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers felt that it was only fitting to highlight a few of the Black leaders with disabilities who pioneered the Independent Living Movement.

    Donald Galloway
    You may remember seeing the photo of Donald Galloway from the 1970s. He’s rocking an afro hairstyle; he’s with his guide dog and Ed Roberts (the Father of the Independent Living Movement) .

    Mr. Galloway was a folk singer as a young man, received a master’s degree in social work and, in 1978, became Jamaica’s Peace Corps director.[i]

    In the mid-1970s Mr. Galloway was the head of blind services and the Black caucus at the Center for Independent Living, Berkeley and a member of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) minority caucus.[ii]

    Learn more about Donald Galloway

    Johnnie Lacy
    Johnnie Lacy was a cherished Hayward area community and civil rights advocate and was named Woman of the Year by the California State Senate in 1988.

    After helping found Center for Independent Living – Berkeley, Ms. Lacy was encouraged to take over the helm at the newly created Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) in Hayward where was the Director for over a decade.

    Learn more about Johnnie Lacy

    Bradley Lomax
    In the 1970’s Bradley Lomax was an Oakland resident and member of the Black Panther Party (BPP). He also had Multiple Sclerosis and used a wheelchair.[iii]

    Recognizing the need for more disability services and supports in his own community, in 1975, Mr. Lomax approached Ed Roberts (who had helped found the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley in 1972), with a proposal to open a Center for Independent Living (CIL) in East Oakland under Black Panther sponsorship. Less than a year later, with Lomax as one of a two-person staff, the East Oakland CIL opened in a storefront, offering basic peer counseling and attendant referral.

    Learn more about Bradley Lomax

    Joyce Jackson

    Bay Area native Joyce Jackson was a disability rights activist who participated among 150 severely disabled demonstrators and their supporters who occupied the San Francisco regional offices of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), demanding enforcement of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[iv]

    Ms. Jackson was one of 20 activists sent to Washington, D.C., to meet with Carter administration officials and eventually convinced HEW officials to implement Section 504 – the landmark civil rights legislation prohibiting federally funded agencies, programs, and activities from discriminating against the people with disabilities. 

    Learn more about Joyce Jackson

    For more perspectives on these pioneers in Disability History, visit Ramp Your Voice.


    [i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/donald-galloway-advocate-of-rights-of-disabled-dies-at-73/2011/10/31/gIQAl93MdM_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4ed46cb0001f
    [ii] http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/drilm/collection/items/galloway.html
    [iii] http://leadonnetwork.org/wordpress/2016/02/09/black-disability-history-brad-lomax-black-panther-revolutionary-black-nationalism-and-disability-power/
    [iv] https://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/02/17/remembering-joyce-ardell-jackson


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