Marilyn Golden was a university scholar on a summer season backpacking journey in Switzerland when she fell from a tree after a rotting limb snapped. Her again was damaged. She spent two years of rehabilitation at Houston Medical Heart and had used a wheelchair ever since.
“I got radicalized, in a general sense, after I got hurt,” she mentioned.
Ms. Golden would dedicate the remainder of her life to championing civil rights for folks with disabilities, all of the whereas rejecting as “ridiculousity” the notion that individuals like her with disabilities desired or deserved pity.
As coverage analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a number one nationwide group within the subject, Ms. Golden performed an essential function within the drafting, passage and implementation of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.
“She was a linchpin, an absolutely essential person in the passage of the law,” mentioned Chai Feldblum, who helped draft the A.D.A. when she was with the American Civil Liberties Union and who later served on the federal Equal Employment Alternative Fee.
“Marilyn was the hub of community organizing and the No. 1 person who used her organization so that the regulations got implemented,” Ms. Feldblum mentioned by cellphone.
Ms. Golden died at 67 on Sept. 21 at her residence in Berkeley, Calif. The trigger was melanoma, her companion, Rabbi David J. Cooper, mentioned.
Ms. Golden campaigned for folks with disabilities on a lot of fronts. She argued for enhancing their entry to public transportation, particularly buses and trains; adapting constructing codes for brand spanking new development and renovations to accommodate wheelchairs and different mobility units; encouraging impartial residing as an alternative to long-term care in establishments; increasing monetary help and different advantages; and requiring and prodding private and non-private entities to broaden entry to communications and knowledge know-how.
These enhancements would manifest themselves in the whole lot from decreasing the peak of automated teller machines that may communicate to prospects, to mandating signal language interpreters for deaf individuals who serve on juries.
“We have to persuade business-friendly legislatures that the civil rights of people who are often segregated and excluded from society are important enough to make them a requirement,” Ms. Golden was quoted as saying on the protection fund’s website.
She additionally actively opposed efforts in a number of states to legalize assisted suicide. She argued that such practices had been fueled by a worry of incapacity — “the public image of disability is as a fate worse than death,” she mentioned — and prejudice in opposition to it, citing “economic pressures of the health care system to relieve itself of its most expensive patients.”
“We are not opposing aggressive palliative care — that’s pain and comfort care — nor the right to refuse or withdraw medical treatment,” she added
Ms. Golden served on the federal Architectural and Transportation Boundaries Compliance Board from 1996 to 2005. She was a coordinator of the Disabled Worldwide Assist Effort, a nonprofit targeted on creating nations. In 2015 she was honored by the Obama White Home as a transportation “Champion of Change.”
Marilyn Golden was born on March 22, 1954, in San Antonio, Texas, to Aaron and Clarice (Lerner) Golden. Her father was a restaurateur and proprietor of a foreign money change; her mom was a homemaker.
Ms. Golden spent her junior 12 months in school in Israel and supposed to return there after graduating from Brandeis College in 1977 with a level in social welfare. Then she had her accident.
For eight years she was director of Entry California, a city-sponsored advocacy group for the disabled in Oakland. She joined the Incapacity Rights Schooling and Protection Fund in 1988 and have become a senior coverage analyst.
“I realized this was a place where I could play a role,” she mentioned.
Ms. Golden directed the fund’s A.D.A. coaching program from 1992 to 1994 and was the principal writer of the group’s information for implementing the act.
Among the many victories for the motion was a choice by Greyhound Traces in 1998 to make all 4,000 stops on its nationwide bus system accessible to wheelchair customers.
“Bus travel is the only travel available to poor Americans,” Ms. Golden testified in Congress earlier than the A.D.A. was handed, “and disabled Americans are three times more likely to fall below the federal poverty line than nondisabled Americans.”
Along with Rabbi Cooper, she is survived by two stepchildren, Talia Cooper and Lev Hirschhorn.
“People are constantly surprised when disabled people do anything, from opening a door to going white-water rafting,” Ms. Golden instructed The Oakland Tribune in 1981. “These lowered expectations are so demeaning. To me it’s normal, not wonderful. My life is equal in scope to theirs.
“What does diminish the scope of our lives are the social limitations, other peoples’ attitudes,” she added. “These problems are with society. If you can’t walk, then you can’t walk. But you can do a lot of things.”