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Prominent Disability Rights Advocate (and Physicist), Stephen Hawking, Has Passed

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Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist and vocal defender of disability rights has passed at the age of 76. In addition to being a rock star in the scientific community, he served as a living reminder of the potential of the human mind given the physical access necessary for disabled people to thrive in their given careers. Diagnosed with motor neuron disease, Hawking spent his final day battling cuts to the UK’s National Health Service. In addition, he was against the commercialization of healthcare expressing that doing so would violate the service’s primary mission to serve the public.

Over the next few days, you will hear about how Hawking’s successes somehow over-shadowed his diagnosis or that he overcame his disabilities, but for disabled people, he was a reminder that we can succeed with disability. He never forgot to advocate for disabled people and often lamented the difficulties he faced in the academic community despite his well-known status. We celebrate the life of a man that made it to the stars and worked hard to take us along with him. He is survived by his children Lucy, Robert, and Tim.

*All gifs from giphy.com

5 comments

  1. Very true. He, more than anybody, proved that there is no limit to what we can do if we are given what we need. May I share this on my FB?

  2. Great post, & I agree with you that we shouldn’t minimize his disability. Dare I say that maybe, because of it (not in spite of it), he pushed himself mentally? Some things he said keep me going. My favorite one is, “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.” Bravo, Imani!

    1. What I’m speaking to is this desire to erase his disability entirely from who he was. We do a disservice to the next generation of disabled people when we perpetuate the narrative that success makes us less disabled.

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