Student meets US State Dept. International Disability Rights Advisor
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 16:01

A busy exam schedule couldn’t keep Robson Hall student Danielle Otto from meeting her inspiration.

Judith Heumann (United States Department Special Advisor for International Disability Rights) visited Winnipeg recently to speak at an event celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Due to first-year law student Danielle’s own history of advocacy for the rights of students with disabilities, she received a special invitation to the event amid a busy exam-and-holiday-prep season.

“I’ll make time [for this],” Danielle said prior to the event. “Judith Heumann is someone I really look up to. I’m very excited she’s coming to Winnipeg – she’s the reason I applied to law school.

“I saw a YouTube video of her testifying about disability legislation before Congress. That’s when I first realized the important role the law plays in making the kinds of change we need in society.”

The event, hosted by the Government of Manitoba’s Disabilities Issues Office (in partnership with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities), took place Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at the Viscount Gort Hotel.

Ms Heumann’s presentation at the event examined Manitoba-specific lessons derived from the 25th anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act.

The first standards set under Manitoba’s own Accessibility for Manitobans Act – which aim to ensure accessibility in customer service – came into force for government entities in November 2015 and will affect other public and private sector organizations, including universities, over the next couple of years.

In honour of International Human Rights Day, Heumann also spoke on December 10 at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The noontime lecture examined the history of the disability rights movement.

The museum features Heumann’s own activism in a fourth-floor exhibit.

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