Kitty Cone

Kitty Cone was another pivotal leader in organizing the disabled community to protest in 1977.  Cone’s background in the Socialist Workers Party and her experiences during the antiwar, women’s movement, and the black civil rights movement provided organizational skills critical to the success of the sit-ins.  Afflicted with muscular dystrophy since age five, she witnesses first hand the social misconceptions surrounding the disabled community.  She became a pivotal figure in the San Francisco area and organized countless demonstrations.

Furthermore, Cone knew that the sit-ins needed to attract media attention which would help apply pressure to government officials.  She led a media committee that evaluated coverage day to day and kept local outlets informed on their progress.  More can be read about this under the Power of the Media tab.


Of the sit-ins, Cone said:

“One thing that amazes me is the physical stamina–I think we were all operating on adrenalin overload for a month. We were going to bed–we would have these mass meetings of everybody in the building, every evening, to discuss how we should respond strategically, and sometimes they didn’t end until one or two in the morning, and we’d go to bed and then we’d get up at five thirty in the morning so we could clean up and be prepared for when the workers came into the office the next day.”

Source: Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement Oral History Series

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