Judith Heumann: “A giant of activism and campaigning”

March 2023

We are sad to learn of the death of disability rights activist Judith Heumann, who was often referred to as the ‘mother of the disability rights movement’.

Judy was a supporter of Sightsavers’ Equal World campaign, and we were honoured to feature her as a speaker at our side event during the 2022 Global Disability Summit. At the event, Judy was interviewed by fellow activist Abia Akram, who is on Sightsavers’ board of trustees. The two women discussed changes in the disability movement, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of activism. 

Ross McMullan, Sightsavers’ global campaign manager, said: “The global disability rights movement has lost a giant of activism and campaigning. Like many people in recent years, I was introduced to Judy’s spirit and legend status through the Netflix documentary, Crip Camp. Last year I was fortunate to meet her at the Harkin Summit in Belfast.

“It was clear from being around her how much of a guiding light she was to so many disability rights activists that were there, particularly young people with disabilities with whom she spent time and got to know. Judy leaves a legacy of historic campaigns success at local, national and global levels, but she also leaves a living legacy through those she inspired, encouraged and mentored who continue to fight for an equal world.” 

We send our deepest sympathies to Judy’s family and friends.

A group of seven people, four of whom are wheelchair users.
Judy Heumann (centre) with Abia Akram, Ross McMullan, Susie Rodgers, Michaela Hollywood and other disability activists. © Michaela Hollywood

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