WID Mourns the Loss of Judy Heumann, WID Co-Founder and Disability Rights Icon

The World Institute on Disability is heartbroken that our co-founder, Judy Heumann, has died on March 4, 2023 at the age of 75. Judy was an incredible leader and activist fighting for the rights and opportunities of over a billion disabled people around the world, and her loss will be felt for many years to come.

WID’s Executive Director and CEO Marcie Roth said to BBC:

“Judy was a force to be reckoned with. Anyone who has had the good fortune to be around her knows she was a no-nonsense, strong, powerful force for change. Judy was an amazing mentor to young people, she was incredibly supportive of those of us who are trying to make change together. She has made her mark both in the US and globally for a very long time, and her legacy will be carried by many, many young people…She took the circumstances in which she was excluded and turned them into opportunities for everyone to be included.”

From our Board Chair, Susan Mazrui (full letter from Susan linked below):

“Whether you are a person who wants to live in your own home as you age, or wants to be able to keep your job after an injury, or use a ramp with your rolling suitcase, you owe a debt of gratitude to Judy Heumann. Without her strength, persistence, and a lifetime of hard work, the world would be a much less accessible and inclusive place.” 

We share our heartfelt condolences with her husband, Jorge Pineda, and the rest of Judy’s family. We plan to share a much more thorough tribute to Judy soon, but as we process this loss, here is more information:

Official press release from the family of Judy Heumann

Memorial service details for Judy, including livestream information

Letter from WID Board Chair, Susan Mazrui

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