Remembering Harriet McBryde Johnson

Five years ago today, on June 4, 2008, disability rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson died unexpectedly at her home in South Carolina at age 50. With today’s 24/7 news cycle and a deluge of information each morning when we turn on our computers, is it easy to forget to stop and remember people no longer with us. Harriet McBryde Johnson is worth remembering. Five years after her untimely death, her activism and writings, her commitment to social justice, and her willingness to confront bigotry wherever she found it serves as a continuing reminder of the core values and goals of today’s disability civil rights movement. Read more…

Cynthia Waddell: Early Leader in Web Accessibility Legal Theory and Advocacy

Cynthia Waddell, a pioneer in developing and advocating for legal theories to support website accessibility for people with disabilities, died on April 2, 2013. In 1998, two years before the first Structured Negotiations web accessibility settlement, eight years before the Target web litigation was filed, and long before the U.S. Department of Justice stated its intention to issue web accessibility regulations, Cynthia wrote articles and gave speeches explaining the legal basis for universal design in the development of webpages. Before Twitter and its ubiquitous #a11y and #ux hashtags, Cynthia was an international advocate for an inclusive web, open to all. Read more…

Today’s Tactile Keypad: Thank you John E. Karlin

Tactile keypads are a crucial element of accessibility for people who are blind and visually impaired. Apple has shown that a touchscreen can be made accessible, but in the absence of tactile keypads, significant swaths of today’s technology and electronics are off limits to persons who cannot see, and to others with disabilities as well. As with many ubiquitous elements of the built environment, we often fail to appreciate the origins — or the originator– of the technology we rely on. This is certainly true for tactile keypads, or it was true until a fascinating obituary of John E. Karlin published in the New York Times earlier this month. Mr. Karlin deserves to be called the father of today’s tactile keypad. Read more…

Paul Longmore: Giant of the Disability Rights Movement (1946 – 2010)

The international disability rights movement lost a brilliant leader and great thinker on August 9, 2010 when Paul Longmore died unexpectedly at his home in San Francisco. Longmore, Professor of History and Director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University was a thoughtful and visionary scholar, disability studies pioneer, fierce advocate and role model to many. Read more…

Linda Dardarian: Structured Negotiations Leader Recognized as California Super Lawyer

For the sixth year in a row, Linda Dardarian has been named a California Super Lawyer by her peers in the legal community. Linda, a partner in the Oakland California civil rights firm of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian, has been Lainey Feingold’s principal co-counsel in Structured Negotiations cases for the past fifteen years. Linda has played a critical role in developing Structured Negotiations as an advocacy and dispute resolution method and in effectively implementing it in a wide variety of cases. Read more…

William Loughborough: Web Geezer Extraordinaire

Accessibility advocate, gadfly and big thinker Bill Loughborough died on April 7. The news, with abbreviated tributes, was all over Twitter, as it should have been. They say Twitter is for the young, and you’re a Tweezer over age 40. Or is it 30? But the first line on Bill Loughborough’s WebGeezer page says: “Those of us past 80 years old find it amusing that old folks are still thought of as Resistant to learning new things.” Read more…

August Longo: Advocate for Accessible Health Care through Structured Negotiations

The disability community lost a strong advocate on April 6 when San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner August J.P. Longo died unexpectedly in his home. In addition to his Commissioner title, August was well known for his role on the City’s Access Appeals Board, his position as Regional Director of the State Democratic Party, and other activism in state and local politics. Less known was his advocacy for accessible health care. It was in this capacity that my co-counsel Linda Dardarian and I came to know and appreciate August Longo. Read more…

California Council of the Blind President Honored by State Bar

Congratulations are in order for friend and colleague, Jeff Thom. Jeff, the president of the California Council of the Blind, has been chosen as the “2008 Public Lawyer of the Year” by the State Bar of California. Jeff is a 1978 graduate of Stanford Law School and a lawyer in the Office of Legislative Counsel in Sacramento, California. According to the State Bar website, Jeff was selected for this honor because of his “distinguished record of professional service to the public, both as an attorney and as a civic leader.” Read more…

Clarence Whaley (1947 – 2008)

Clarence Whaley, who died on June 14 at the too young age of 60, was an unsung hero of Structured Negotiations. Along with blind advocate Paul Parravano, Clarence was a Claimant in the negotiations with American Express about Braille and Large Print statements. Clarence’s calm yet forceful presence was crucial to the outcome: a binding settlement agreement with American Express in which the company agreed to provide Braille and Large Print statements to all visually impaired account holders in the United States. Read more…

Harriet McBryde Johnson (1957 – 2008)

Disability and human rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson died at home in South Carolina on June 3, 2008. The world has lost a passionate and dedicated advocate for social change. Untold numbers in the disability community and beyond have lost a caring friend and role model. Read more…