Photo: Judith Heumann at DRM’s 2015 Breaking Barriers Gala with former Executive Director Virginia Knowlton Marcus.


Disability Rights Maryland (DRM) mourns the passing of Judith Heumann, a hero in the disability rights movement, on March 4th at the age of 75. As we grieve the loss of Judith, often regarded as “the mother” of the disability rights movement, we remember her five decades of tenacious advocacy for people with disabilities.

In 2015, at our annual Breaking Barriers Award Gala, DRM presented Judith with the Lorraine Sheehan Lifetime Achievement Award for her heroic leadership and defining voice in the disability rights movement. Her leadership stood out in the crusade and victory for inclusion, as well as respect and acceptance of people with disabilities. Her voice defined what justice is and what justice means for people with disabilities.

In 2020, DRM established the Judith Heumann Champion of Justice Award to honor in perpetuity her legacy as one of the world’s most influential disability rights activists. This prestigious award recognizes one outstanding honoree for a lifetime of advocacy for the disability rights movement and all the civil rights movements with which it intersects.

Judith personally presented the award at DRM’s virtual Breaking Barriers Gala in 2020 to Wade Henderson, whose leadership and advocacy helped secure vital legislation for people with disabilities. She returned in 2021 to present the award to Representative Jamie Raskin for his lifelong commitment to the advancement and legal protection of rights for people with disabilities.

DRM will continue to proudly celebrate Judith’s legacy by presenting the Judith Heumann Champion of Justice Award to individuals who embody the values, accomplishments, and spirit that she infused into the disability rights revolution.

Judith was truly the agent and ethos that led to transformative changes in misperceptions about people with disabilities.

For more details on Judith’s life and memorial service, visit: