After an accident “radicalized” disabled her, she became the “linchpin” in the Battle of the Americans with Disabilities Act as a leading policy analyst.
Marilyn Golden was a college student on a summer backpacking trip to Switzerland when she fell from a tree after breaking a rotting limb. His back was broken. He spent two years in rehabilitation at Houston Medical Center and had used a wheelchair ever since.
“I became radicalized after an injury, in a general sense,” she said.
Ms. Golden devoted the rest of her life to supporting civil rights for people with disabilities, while dismissing “ridiculous” the notion that people with disabilities like her want or deserve mercy.
as Policy Analyst for Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a leading national organization in the field, Ms. Golden was instrumental in the drafting, passage and implementation of the Americans with Historical Disabilities Act in 1990.
“She was a linchpin, an absolutely essential figure in the passage of legislation,” said Chai Feldblum, who helped draft the ADA with the American Civil Liberties Union and later served on the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Ms Feldblum said over the phone: “Marilyn was the center of community organizing and the No. 1 person who used her organization to enforce the rules.”
Ms. Golden died on September 21 at the age of 67 at her home in Berkeley, California. The cause was melanoma, said his partner, Rabbi David J. Cooper.
Ms. Golden campaigned for people with disabilities on several fronts. He argued for improving their access to public transport, especially buses and trains; Adopting building codes for new construction and refurbishment to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility equipment; encourage independent living as an alternative to long-term care in institutions; Extending financial aid and other benefits; and the need and promotion of public and private entities to expand access to communications and information technology.
Those improvements will manifest in everything from reducing the height of automated teller machines to talking to customers, mandating sign language interpreters for deaf people to serve on jurors.
“We have to persuade business-friendly legislatures that the civil rights of people who are often isolated and ostracized from society are important enough to make them a necessity,” Ms. Golden was quoted as saying on the Defense Fund. Website.
She also actively opposed attempts to legalize assisted suicide in several states. She argued that such practices were motivated by a fear of disability—”the public image of disability as a fate worse than death,” she said—and prejudice against, “the economic pressures of the health care system.” To get rid of himself”, he said. The most expensive patients.”
“We are not opposed to aggressive palliative care – it is pain and comfort care – nor the right to refuse or withdraw medical treatment,” she added. “Nor are we opposed to the proper, narrow application of a treatment called palliative sedation, when death is really imminent. We are only opposed to more invasive methods of accelerating death,” such as lethal injections or the prescription of barbiturates. Legalize
Ms. Golden served on the Federal Architecture and Transportation Constraint Compliance Board from 1996 to 2005. She was the coordinator of the Disabled International Aid Effort, a non-profit focused on developing countries. In 2015 he was honored by the Obama White House as the Transportation “Champion of Change”.
Marilyn Golden was born on March 22, 1954, in San Antonio, Texas, to Aaron and Clarice (Lerner) Golden. Her father was the owner of a restaurant and currency exchange; His mother was a housewife.
Ms. Golden spent her junior year at college in Israel and intended to return there after graduating from Brandeis University in 1977 with a degree in social welfare. That’s when he had an accident.
For eight years she was the director of Access California, a city-sponsored advocacy group for the disabled in Oakland. She joined the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund in 1988 and became a senior policy analyst.
“I realized this was a place where I could play a part,” she said.
Ms. Golden directed the fund’s ADA training program from 1992 to 1994 and was the lead author of the group’s guide to implementing the act.
Among the movement’s victories was the 1998 decision by Greyhound Lines to make all 4,000 stops on its nationwide bus system accessible to wheelchair users.
“Bus travel is the only way for poor Americans to travel,” Ms. Golden testified in Congress before the ADA was passed, “and Americans with disabilities are three times more likely to fall below the federal poverty line than non-disabled Americans. “
In addition to Rabbi Cooper, he is survived by two stepchildren, Talia Cooper and Lev Hirschhorn.
Ms. Golden told The Oakland Tribune in 1981, “People are constantly surprised when people with disabilities do anything from opening doors to white-water rafting.” “These low expectations are so despicable. To me it’s normal, not wonderful. My life is equal in scope to theirs.
“What narrows the scope of our lives are social boundaries, other people’s perspectives,” she said. “These problems are with society. If you can’t walk you can’t walk. But you can do a lot.”