About Me

My interest in the Disability Rights Movement (DRM) occurred after taking an undergraduate seminar in twentieth century civil rights movements.  I was the only person in the class who chose to research a topic outside of the African American civil rights movement, but quickly discovered that the DRM adopted many of the same tactics.  I focused my research on the courageous individuals who occupied the federal building in San Francisco for close to one month. Through my research reading oral histories, newspapers, and government documents, I was able to communicate an important, but little-known narrative.

While I didn’t know it at the time, my knowledge of the DRM would come to affect my life personally in the coming years, leading to a greater appreciation for how pivotal that moment was in 1977.  My experience suffering from a debilitating chronic illness since my initial undergraduate research is very much the reason I chose to revisit this topic through this website and my video.  As I express in my video, I am grateful I don’t experience challenges to the extent of much of the disabled community, but my struggles of the past have been surmountable because of the support I’ve been given through disability legislation and services.  So much of what happened in 1977 impacted millions of lives in the following years, including mine.

Disability does not just affect the individual but it affects their family as well.  A person can become disabled at any time whether it is short term or permanent, with a great affect on their close family and friends.  I never imagined there would be a point in my life where I would need the services of my campus disability support center, or that I would be ill enough to need Social Security and Medicare, or even that my family would be affected by the Family and Medical Leave Act.  The unpredictability of life and health is such that you never know when that could be you or someone you love.  That is why this topic is so incredibly important.  That is my intent with this website;  to promote discussion, which will hopefully lead to a greater understanding of disability rights and legislation.

Please feel free to contact me below and proceed to the blog on this site for further discussion.

Ellen Sweeney



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