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Ed Roberts, A Life

Dedicated to Equality.

A black and white photo of Ed Roberts.

Ed Roberts was an American activist fought for people with disabilities to have the right to fully participate in society.


On December 15th, 2010 the United States House of Representatives declared January 23rd as Ed Roberts Day in honor of the amazing accomplishments he made for the disabled community.  It is because of individuals like him persons with disabilities are able to have the rights and resources they have today. Due to his courage and inspiration, we continue to strive and create inclusivity.


Roberts was paralyzed from the neck down after contracting polio at a young age. His condition required him to use a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.


His activism began in high school where he petitioned the school board to allow him to

graduate high school and receive his diploma despite not being able to complete the driver's education and physical requirements.


Roberts won the petition and received his diploma in 1960, then went on to become the first student with severe disabilities to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Political Science.


Roberts later returned to lead the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, a project he stated during his time as a student. The program became a model for disability rights around the globe.


Despite his passing in 1995, Roberts is still remembered for the work he did and the change he created for the disability community. RICV honors Ed Roberts. Because of his dedication to making a difference for individuals with disabilities, we have a more accessible world.


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