Saturday, June 15, 2024

New U.S. Department of State Award Honors Former Special Advisor for International Disability Rights

The new Judith “Judy” Heumann Memorial Award for Leadership and Service in accessibility, disability rights, and inclusion recognizes U.S. Department of State employees whose efforts in the fields of accessibility and disability rights helps to build and retain an inclusive work environment where employees with disabilities have equal opportunity and access.  The award also memorializes Heumann’s work at the State Department and around the world.

Heumann, dubbed the “Mother of the Disability Rights Movement,” was the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the State Department, serving from 2010 to 2017.  In this role, she developed and led the U.S. comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally, working to remove barriers and create inclusion. 

Heumann also played a key role in the development and passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, a landmark piece of legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas of public life. Her work has had a profound impact on the advancement of disability rights both nationally and internationally, bringing disability rights to the forefront of foreign policy and foreign assistance.

The State Department established this new award to recognize an employee’s outstanding accomplishment in furthering the Department’s accessibility, disability rights, and inclusion goals, making it the first annual award explicitly highlighting significant contributions related to accessibility and disability rights.

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