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Remembering Ed Roberts

by Mary Mazzoni on January 24, 2012

Ed Roberts, the father of the independent living movement, was born 73 years ago today.

Let’s celebrate his life and legacy by listening to his words anew.

Click here for a video of Ed Roberts talking with teens about interdependence.

You’ll find a slide show with excerpts from his speeches here.

TheĀ Ed Roberts Campus at UC Berkley is internationally known not only for its universal design, but for its genuinely collaborative community-building work.

Ed Roberts’ legacy lives on in all of us who are inspired by his leadership. As we listen to his words and remember his life with gratitude, may we each in our own way pay forward the gifts he’s given us all.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Doohan January 24, 2012 at 4:06 am

When my husband was born sixty years ago, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and being “challenged” mentally or physically were not household words. School officials told his parents they should begin making plans for someone to take care of him as an adult because he’d never be able to hold a job or care for himself. One high school teacher wanted my husband’s parents to surrender their parental rights to him and give him over to this teacher to become a subject in a doctoral project to investigate why some people can’t learn to read even though they are intelligent. Then a coach discovered my husband could swim and suddenly all sorts of doors and scholarships were open to him as an olympic hopeful and school record setter. The world was his oyster until an injury ended his swimming career and all those doors slammed shut to my husband again. Today’s world is different … opportunities and accessibility and understanding are so much greater than they were back then. Take advantage of them … it’s your child’s future.


Mary Mazzoni January 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Thanks for sharing your husband’s story, Sue. We all need people in our lives who have eyes to see our gifts. As you have eyes to see your husband’s gifts.

We are each more than our (dis)abilities – and the world needs each of us. When doors slam shut, we can find ways to open them, with a little help from one another. Blessings to you both!


Ellen Seidman January 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Thanks so much, Mary. I didn’t know of Ed Roberts before, and I’m glad to now. Totally inspiring.


Mary Mazzoni January 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

Ellen, here’s a brief clip of Ed’s mom zona speaking at the Grand Opening of the Ed Roberts Campus. Her keen wit, positive energy and generosity of spirit remind me of you.

Thanks for all you do at
- and thanks for being you!


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