Governor Newsom Proclaims Ed Roberts Day 2024

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation declaring January 23, 2024, as “Ed Roberts Day.”

The text of the proclamation and a copy can be found below:


Known as the “Father of Independent Living,” Ed Roberts was a trailblazing advocate for people with disabilities who transformed countless lives in California and across the country. Paralyzed after contracting polio as a child, Roberts was considered “unemployable” by the California Department of Rehabilitation, a prejudiced decision he successfully fought to overturn.

Roberts attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the first student who used a wheelchair. It was here that he began his lifelong work as an advocate fighting for the rights of students like him. In 1972, Roberts founded UC Berkeley’s Physically Disabled Students Program, creating the model for the Center for Independent Living and similar centers throughout the country.

Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to lead the state’s Department of Rehabilitation – which years earlier had found him “unemployable” – he served the state with distinction until 1983, when he founded the World Institute on Disability in Oakland. The Institute’s pioneering work helped nationalize California’s In-Home Support Services by adding the Home Service option to Medicaid.

In 2011, Roberts was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in recognition of his leadership and advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. My Administration continues to advance his transformative vision of community living for all, by strengthening developmental services, home and community care, inclusive education, career pathways, accessible voting, and more.

Today, on the 85th anniversary of his birth, we recognize Ed Roberts for his unwavering commitment to creating a more equitable world for those with disabilities. Let us reaffirm our commitment to expanding access, equity and opportunity for all Californians.

NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim January 23, 2024, as “Ed Roberts Day.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 23rd day of January 2024.

GAVIN NEWSOMGovernor of California

ATTEST:SHIRLEY N. WEBER, Ph.D.Secretary of State