KU News 10/5: Disability rights activist Judith Heumann will celebrate 30th anniversary of ADA with KU


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Disability rights activist Judith Heumann will celebrate 30th anniversary of ADA with KU


LAWRENCE — Judith Heumann, a lifelong disability rights champion and former special adviser to former President Barack Obama and the World Bank, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month with the University of Kansas, the Lawrence community and guests worldwide Oct. 28-29.


“ADA 30 — Nothing About Us Without Us — A Celebration with Judith Heumann” will feature a virtual keynote conversation with Heumann, moderated by Wesley Hamilton, titled “The ADA at 30: Past, Present and Future” as well as several other online panel discussions on timely disability topics. All events are free, and the majority are open to the public. See the full event schedule here.


“There is tremendous campus, community, regional and national excitement about our two-day celebration with Judith Heumann,” said Catherine Johnson, director of the KU ADA Resource Center for Equity & Accessibility. “I anticipate thousands of guests to join us during these two days to celebrate the ADA, to discuss current disability rights concerns and to chart a course for future disability advocacy work. I am humbled and grateful to have Judith join us for this exciting and impactful celebration of disability rights.”


Schedule highlights


“Retrospectives with Judith Heumann”

10-11:30 a.m. Oct. 28

Join Heumann in a conversation exploring the power of Netflix’s documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” the Disability Rights Movement as well as Heumann’s influence and legacy as an international disability rights activist. She will also discuss her autobiography “Being Heumann, An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist.”


“Where are the Disabled Artists?”

2:15-3:30 p.m. Oct. 29

Representation of disability in the media is an emerging issue within the disability rights community. Current representation of disability in media is most frequently portrayed by an actor without a disability, instead of an actor with a disability. Actors’ portrayals of individuals with disabilities range from pitiful to heroic and use both harmful and outdated stereotypes long disregarded by the disability rights community. Join Heumann and local and national disability rights advocates for a conversation on this evolving topic.


“The Independent Living Movement”

9:30-11 a.m. Oct. 29

Join local and national disability rights advocates for a conversation with Heumann on the power and influence of the Independent Living Movement on the lives of individuals with disabilities, its effect on disability rights advocacy and the future advocacy of the Independent Living Movement.


About Judith Heumann

Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights and independent living movements. Her work with a wide range of activists, nongovernmental organizations and governments since the 1970s has contributed greatly to the development of human rights legislation and policy benefiting individuals with disabilities. Heumann served in the Obama administration as the first special adviser for international disability rights at the U.S. Department of State, as the World Bank’s first adviser on disability and development and in the Clinton administration as the assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Education.


“Disabled people are not different from any other group. With appropriate opportunities and supports we are able to contribute to the economic and social well-being of our communities,” Heumann said. “While change itself may take time, we cannot accept ‘no’ in the meantime and need to push as hard as possible when fighting for our rights.


“I am excited to connect with the KU and Lawrence communities and am honored KU invited me to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with them. There is so much work yet to do, and I am made hopeful by communities such as these.”


About Wesley Hamilton

Wesley Hamilton, a Kansas City local, was featured on Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” He is an award-winning athlete and the executive director of Disabled but Not Really, a philanthropic organization.


See the full list of panelists and moderators here.






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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]


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