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Disabled People’s Forgotten Revolution: The 504 Occupation

Cathy Kudlick, Director of the Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University blogged about the unique contributions by the Bay Area disability community in the fight for civil rights. Below is an excerpt.

A black and white image of a group of people protesting in front of San Francisco's City Hall. Many are wheelchair users. One person's wheelchair has a sign that reads: "We shall overcome."

The 504 protest in San Francisco – outside the building. Photograph by Anthony Tusler.

As the nation prepares to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2015, the Paul K. Longmore Institute will celebrate the unique Bay Area contributions to disability rights. Our ambitious exhibit “Patient No More!” will focus on what is known as “the 504 occupation” in 1977 when more than one hundred brave women and men paved the way for so many of us and passing the ADA thirteen years later. We must return to thinking of the Americans with Disabilities Act as the product of grassroots activism and disabled people’s political savvy rather than a mandate somehow passed down from on high. To quote Paul Longmore’s speech at the 20th ADA Anniversary celebration in San Francisco, “We are the ones who did this. This wasn’t handed to us. This wasn’t an act of charity. This wasn’t something done paternalistically. We made it happen. We did it.”

For the full post:

Information about the exhibit Patient No More!




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