Americans living with disabilities are remembering President George H.W. Bush for his role in protecting their civil rights to get an education, to work and to function freely in society.
Judy Heumann has made it her life’s mission to fight for the rights of disabled Americans, like herself.
Which is why she’ll never forget July 26th, 1990, the day president George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The law bans discrimination based on disability and requires certain public physical accommodations.
Heumann says, “it was a major turning point in the lives of disabled people.” Heumann developed polio as a toddler and has relied on a wheelchair ever since. Her activism to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities spans decades and in the late 1980s, she took that fight to Capitol Hill.
She served in the Clinton and Obama administrations. But she credits Mr. Bush for standing up to U.S. businesses who claimed installing physical accommodations to assist the disabled would cost too much.
Heumann says, “he really understood the barriers that we faced and he wanted to put an end to it.”
Tuesday, disabled Americans paid their respects to Mr. Bush, who at the end of his own life, used a wheelchair. The president’s service dog, Sully, joined them in the capitol rotunda.
President Bush left a lasting legacy that helped millions with disabilities live with dignity.