Marilyn Golden, Effective Voice for the Disabled, Dies at 67

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U.S.|Marilyn Golden, Effective Voice for the Disabled, Dies astatine 67

“Radicalized” aft an mishap near her disabled, she became a “linchpin” successful the combat for the Americans With Disabilities Act arsenic a starring argumentation analyst.

Marilyn Golden with Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, erstwhile   they worked unneurotic  connected  transition  of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act successful  1990.
Credit...via Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Sam Roberts

Sept. 28, 2021, 5:49 p.m. ET

Marilyn Golden was a assemblage pupil connected a summertime backpacking travel successful Switzerland erstwhile she fell from a histrion aft a rotting limb snapped. Her backmost was broken. She spent 2 years of rehabilitation astatine Houston Medical Center and had utilized a wheelchair ever since.

“I got radicalized, successful a wide sense, aft I got hurt,” she said.

Ms. Golden would give the remainder of her beingness to championing civilian rights for radical with disabilities, each the portion rejecting arsenic “ridiculousity” the conception that radical similar her with disabilities desired oregon deserved pity.

As argumentation expert for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a starring nationalist enactment successful the field, Ms. Golden played an important relation successful the drafting, transition and implementation of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act successful 1990.

“She was a linchpin, an perfectly indispensable idiosyncratic successful the transition of the law,” said Chai Feldblum, who helped draught the A.D.A. erstwhile she was with the American Civil Liberties Union and who aboriginal served connected the national Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Marilyn was the hub of assemblage organizing and the No. 1 idiosyncratic who utilized her enactment truthful that the regulations got implemented,” Ms. Feldblum said by phone.

Ms. Golden died astatine 67 connected Sept. 21 astatine her location successful Berkeley, Calif. The origin was melanoma, her companion, Rabbi David J. Cooper, said.

Ms. Golden campaigned for radical with disabilities connected a fig of fronts. She argued for improving their entree to nationalist transportation, particularly buses and trains; adapting gathering codes for caller operation and renovations to accommodate wheelchairs and different mobility devices; encouraging autarkic surviving arsenic a substitute for semipermanent attraction successful institutions; expanding fiscal assistance and different benefits; and requiring and prodding nationalist and backstage entities to grow entree to communications and accusation technology.

Those improvements would manifest themselves successful everything from lowering the tallness of automatic teller machines that tin talk to customers, to mandating motion connection interpreters for deaf radical who service connected juries.

“We person to transportation business-friendly legislatures that the civilian rights of radical who are often segregated and excluded from nine are important capable to marque them a requirement,” Ms. Golden was quoted arsenic saying connected the defence fund’s website.

She besides actively opposed efforts successful respective states to legalize assisted suicide. She argued that specified practices were fueled by a fearfulness of disablement — “the nationalist representation of disablement is arsenic a destiny worse than death,” she said — and prejudice against it, citing “economic pressures of the wellness attraction strategy to relieve itself of its astir costly patients.”

“We are not opposing assertive palliative attraction — that’s symptom and comfortableness attraction — nor the close to garbage oregon retreat aesculapian treatment,” she added. “Nor are we opposed to the proper, constrictive exertion of a attraction called palliative sedation, erstwhile decease is genuinely imminent. We are lone opposing much assertive ways to hasten death,” similar legalizing lethal injections oregon prescriptions of barbiturates.

Ms. Golden served connected the national Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board from 1996 to 2005. She was a coordinator of the Disabled International Support Effort, a nonprofit focused connected processing countries. In 2015 she was honored by the Obama White House arsenic a proscription “Champion of Change.”


Credit...via Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Marilyn Golden was calved connected March 22, 1954, successful San Antonio, Texas, to Aaron and Clarice (Lerner) Golden. Her begetter was a restaurateur and proprietor of a currency exchange; her parent was a homemaker.

Ms. Golden spent her inferior twelvemonth successful assemblage successful Israel and intended to instrumentality determination aft graduating from Brandeis University successful 1977 with a grade successful societal welfare. Then she had her accident.

For 8 years she was manager of Access California, a city-sponsored advocacy radical for the disabled successful Oakland. She joined the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund successful 1988 and became a elder argumentation analyst.

“I realized this was a spot wherever I could play a role,” she said.

Ms. Golden directed the fund’s A.D.A. grooming programme from 1992 to 1994 and was the main writer of the group’s usher for implementing the act.

Among the victories for the question was a determination by Greyhound Lines successful 1998 to marque each 4,000 stops connected its nationwide autobus strategy accessible to wheelchair users.

“Bus question is the lone question disposable to mediocre Americans,” Ms. Golden testified successful Congress earlier the A.D.A. was passed, “and disabled Americans are 3 times much apt to autumn beneath the national poorness enactment than nondisabled Americans.”

In summation to Rabbi Cooper, she is survived by 2 stepchildren, Talia Cooper and Lev Hirschhorn.

“People are perpetually amazed erstwhile disabled radical bash anything, from opening a doorway to going white-water rafting,” Ms. Golden told The Oakland Tribune successful 1981. “These lowered expectations are truthful demeaning. To maine it’s normal, not wonderful. My beingness is adjacent successful scope to theirs.

“What does diminish the scope of our lives are the societal limitations, different peoples’ attitudes,” she added. “These problems are with society. If you can’t walk, past you can’t walk. But you tin bash a batch of things.”

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