PROCLAMATION BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Ed Roberts is rightfully known as “The Father of Independent Living.” Paralyzed by polio at the age of fourteen, he was labeled “unemployable” by the state when he sought vocational rehabilitation. But Roberts refused to let his physical challenges hold him back. In 1962, he became the first severely disabled student to attend the University of California, Berkeley.
At Berkeley, Roberts blossomed into an advocate for students with disabilities. He worked tirelessly for the accommodations that disabled students needed to receive an education and participate in campus life. The programs he helped to develop eventually became models for independent-living programs worldwide.
In 1975, I appointed Ed Roberts as director of the state’s Department of Rehabilitation, the same department that had once deemed him “unemployable.” He remained in this position until 1983, when he founded the World Institute on Disability in Oakland. Throughout his career, Roberts’ leadership put California at the forefront of the disability rights movement.
Today, on the 74th anniversary of his birth, we remember Ed Roberts for his determination to ensure social justice, equality and independence for people with disabilities.
NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim January 23rd 2013, 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 18th day of January 2013.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State