Honoring Women Who Made and Are Making a Difference

Women’s History Month is a wonderful time to pay tribute to the women who have created opportunities, paved a path and continue to show what is possible for people with vision loss and other disabilities.

Photo of Judy Heumann during one of her TedTalks

Judy Heumann

To begin, I want to acknowledge the life and legacy of Judy Heumann, known as the Mother of the Disability Rights Movement, who passed away on March 4. Judy lost her ability to walk after contracting polio as a toddler. When her mother tried to enroll her in school, the principal said Judy couldn’t go to school because she was a fire hazard. Thus began a life-long effort to establish rights and give access to education and other opportunities for people with disabilities.

Judy lobbied for legislation that eventually led to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act. She served as the assistant secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services from 1993 to 2001. “She really helped people accept who they were as disabled people and take pride in that identity,” said Maria Town, CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. “She helped so many people understand their own power as disabled people.”

Here at Society for the Blind, we have an incredible group of 25 women on staff whose contributions have helped Society for the Blind expand and grow over the years. In our Low Vision Clinic, we have Rachel, Chelsea, Toni, Oshchane and Dr. Arie Wong. In our Finance and Resource Development departments, we have Cherry, Lina, Minda, Ceridyn and Londa. In our Bingo Program, we have Jadi and Ellen, and in our Braille Program, Elizabeth. In our Core, Senior IMPACT Project and CareersPLUS programs, we have Priscilla, Kathleen, Debbie, Lovohn, Heather, Debra, Diane, Jill, Brandie, Samantha, Terri and Sarah. Each of these women is an inspiration in her own right.

Another cause for celebration is the upcoming official opening of Society’s Braille Production and Training Program on April 27. Since acquiring the Sacramento Braille Transcribers in October of last year, we have been hard at work getting the space refreshed and putting together our production system. We welcome you to join us on April 27 from 5:00-7:00pm at the Sierra 2 Community Center to celebrate this new program of Society for the Blind.

This month, may you celebrate the amazing women in your life and all that they contribute to making our world a better place for everyone.