People and Profiles

Justin Dart: Father of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Justin Dart: Father of the Americans With Disabilities Act

It often surprises me how many people in the disabled community, when asked, have never heard of Justin Dart. I've been disabled my whole life and it wasn't until my mid-30s while working at an independent living center that I learned about Dart. Who he was, and what a large contribution he made to securing the Americans With Disabilities Act. In fact, he is referred to as the “father of the ADA” because he was an influential leader in the disability rights movement for nearly 40 years.

Ed Roberts: A Founding Leader of the Independent Living Movement

Ed Roberts: A Founding Leader of the Independent Living Movement

In case you aren't familiar, the story goes like this: Ed was 23 years old and he wanted to do what most young people of that age want to do: he wanted to go to college. Bias and physical barriers to access made Robert's efforts to achive academic milestones a constant struggle. He had to learn early-on how to advocate for himself and his needs. Initially taking courses by telephone, his mother insisted he attend some classes in person, in order to socialize him and prepare him for the world outside his doors-- disability or not.