Sue Hodges: Powerful Disability Activist


Laurie and Debbie say:

Sue Hodges (1942-2017) was a powerful disability activist. It was an honor to have her as one of the models for Women en Large. She died in March.



The East Bay Times says:

As a child, she contracted polio and although she survived the initial paralyzing effects of the disease, later in life, that illness came back to inflict much pain and disability on her. Susan was active in the Berkeley Free Clinic and devoted much of her life to social causes. For 5 years, she worked as a classroom assistant at Language Associates, a school for special needs children. Her most notable contribution was in the field of disability rights — especially for people in wheelchairs. The effect of her childhood polio and a bad car accident forced her into a wheelchair when she was in her early 40’s. From that time on, Susan worked tirelessly for the cause of the disabled, with emphasis on securing adequate pay for their caregivers. Susan was a co-author of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, for which she was personally honored by President Clinton at the White House in 1994. She earned Woman of the Year for the State of California in 1999 and also for the City of Oakland in 1999. Gradually, her physical condition declined to the point where she spent much of her time in a hospital bed at her home…

I remember vividly photographing her in her home.  She was one of the people whose thoughts really contributed to the book. (Many of the women in the book have made important contributions to groundbreaking social justice work.)

Her work helped give millions of people access that was desperately needed and deserved. And her work for decent pay for care givers was profoundly important to people who important service is usually ignored.