State Honors Disability Rights Advocate Ed Roberts

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July 22, 2010
Ed Roberts (right) with Don Galloway.  Photo courtesy of Ken Okuno
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January 23 is officially "Ed Roberts Day" in the state of California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill designating the late disability rights leader's birthday as a time for students and the public to focus on Roberts's contributions to greater equality for people with disabilities.

In 1953, Roberts, then 14, contracted polio, which left him almost completely paralyzed. He was the first student with significant disabilities to attend UC Berkeley. He went on to help found Berkeley's Center for Independent Living, which became a national model, and the World Institute on Disability. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Roberts as Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, which years earlier had denied him funding for his education. Roberts, pictured above on the right, passed away in 1995. 

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