Ed Roberts | Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities | ADA 25th Anniversary


[music playing] Ed had been a sports person as a kid. That’s why having polio and having all that denied him it made him very depressed for awhile. But I had no doubt he would do things in life. He wasn’t just gonna lie in bed. I filled out the application and then he was accepted at Berkeley. He was a scared kid going off to college. It was just this terrifying idea, ‘They’re all gonna look at me.’ And then he realized they could look at him and- he could be a star. Lots of publicity. ‘Helpless cripple goes to college.’ And of course it opened the doors to people who had kids with disabilities. ‘God, if they can do it, why maybe my kid can.’ They named themselves the Rolling Quads and began to do their activism on campus. Like the curb cuts that didn’t happen until when Ed and the Quads went there. When that hit the paper, they were hot. And he started politicking and he loved it. Ed was delighted to go to DC. He was so determined to do this. He loved working with kids. And whenever he was giving a talk anywhere and he’d be up on the platform and if he’d see a kid in a wheelchair, he’d have to be sure that they came up on the platform with him. And the power that this gives the families and the kids just to be recognized and ‘You too can do this.’ He just had a way of inspiring people to be what they needed to be. So when you set off a chain like this you don’t stop it, you know, it grows and grows. People can get their education, that’s much easier now. There are many people now who are being trained at the Ed Roberts Campus. If Ed were alive today he would be really proud of the way the ADA has promoted the welfare of people with disabilities, and that the funding would be there to help them and their families, so they could support them in their determination to live their better lives. [music playing]

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  1. Thank you Ed Roberts! Thank you to all those who pioneered a path for better life and well being for people with disabilities!!

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