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Judy Heumann was a trailblazer – a rolling warrior – for disability rights in America. After her school principal said she couldn’t enter Kindergarten because she was using a wheelchair, Judy dedicated the rest of her life to fighting for the inherent dignity of people with disabilities.
Her courage and fierce advocacy resulted in the Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act – landmark achievements that increased access to education, the workplace, housing, and more for people with disabilities. Judy also served in leadership positions in two presidential administrations, and she started multiple disability advocacy organizations that continue to benefit people here and around the world.
I knew Judy for a long time. When I was Vice President, we hosted a meeting together at the White House to discuss our continued efforts to break down barriers for those who face discrimination and neglect. Her legacy is an inspiration to all Americans, including many talented public servants with disabilities in my Administration.
Jill and I send our deepest condolences to Judy’s husband, Jorge Pineda, and their entire family.