Durbin Honors Civil Rights And Disability Rights Champion Marca Bristo On Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today honored the life of civil rights and disability rights champion Marca Bristo, who passed away on September 8th in her adopted hometown of Chicago at the age of 66.  Marca was a nationally and internationally acclaimed leader in the disability rights movement who was instrumental in helping write and pass the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“Remove the barriers, and people with disabilities can lead rich and full lives and make enormous contributions.  That’s part of what Marca taught me,” Durbin said.  “She was tough, smart, funny, determined, and fearless.  She knew how to motivate others and build coalitions.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

Marca moved to Chicago and earned a nursing degree from the Rush University College of Nursing in 1976.  In 1977, Marca was 23 years old when she broke her neck and was paralyzed from the waist down.  In 1980, she founded Access Living in Chicago, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible. In 1992, Marca co-founded the National Council on Independent Living, which she led for many years.  In 1993, President Clinton named her to head the National Council on Disability.  She was the first person with a disability ever to hold that post and served until 2002.