"A True Disability Activist": Honoring the Service of Judy Heumann

Four women, all wheelchair users, seated in a row. Susan Sygall and Judith Heumann are among them with two international delegates.
Judy Heumann (third from left) joins MIUSA CEO Susan Sygall (far left) and MIUSA alumni from Vietnam.
MIUSA CEO shares her farewell message to the outgoing Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.

For six and a half years, Judith Heumann, an internationally-recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate, has served the United States Department of State as the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. Furthermore, since the establishment of Mobility International USA, she has strongly supported its efforts and has been an actively involved in MIUSA’s international and national programs and events.

This week, Ms. Heumann will depart from her role as Special Advisor role with the transition of a new presidential administration in the United States. In light of this, MIUSA CEO and Co-Founder Susan Sygall offered a personal message to recognize and honor Ms. Heumann's service, which was read to her at a farewell event this week:

Dear Judy,

I wish I could be with you as you gather with friends and colleagues to celebrate all that you have accomplished with the State Department.

As you know, I have known you for more than 40 years, and I know that you are not about your accomplishments or your titles because you are a true disability activist, someone who works day and night, 24/7, to enhance the lives of people with disabilities both in the US and around the world. So I don't think of you as leaving a position - I only think of you as continuing your journey to be of service to others.

I can't think of anyone who is more respected, more admired, or more cherished in the disability rights movement than you - and I want to join everyone in thanking you for not only all that you have done, but all that I know that you will continue to do.

With much love and admiration,

Susan Sygall