July 2, 2002 --
Justin Dart, Jr., died June 22 at his home in Washington D.C. "A leader of the international disability rights movement and a renowned human rights activist, widely recognized as 'the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act' and 'the godfather of the disability rights movement,' Dart had for the past several years struggled with the complications of post-polio syndrome and congestive heart failure," wrote disability historian Fred Pelka and Justice For All's Fred Fay, who composed Dart's official obituary ( online at the JFA website at http://www.jfanow.org/cgi/getli.pl?1532)
The Washington Post was among many media outlets with story about Dart's passing. Reporter Louie Estrada, who called the 71-year-old Dart "a wheelchair-using champion of the rights of the disabled,"wrote that Dart, "whose father was a member of President Ronald Reagan's original 'kitchen cabinet,' had been a self-described citizen advocate for civil rights for the past five decades and a leading figure in developing government policy on civil rights and health care for the disabled.
"He helped craft the language of the ADA, which requires public facilities to be adapted to accommodate disabled people, as chairman of the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities from 1988 to 1990," wrote Estrada, and noted that Dart had "received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 1998." Read the entire obituary, which gives a history of Dart's earlier years, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A29841-2002Jun22?language=printer
In addition to The Washington Post and the Associated Press, media outlets running stories about Dart included the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and many other media outlets. CNN ran a brief newsitem about his passing which appeared for several days; it can now be found at http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/06/22/obit.dart.ap/index.html National Public Radio's story about Dart by Joseph Shapiro can be found at http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/segment_display.cfm?segID=145767
The Ican website has put up an interactive board to post messages about Justin's passing; it's online at http://www.icanonline.net/guestbookjd.cfm
Yoshiko Dart, Justin's widow, has issued an open invitation to the disability community to come to "a celebration of life, empowerment, solidarity and love to be held on the afternoon and evening of July 26th in Washington, D.C. A group of Justin's dear friends are currently working on the details of the service and celebration, and a more detailed announcement will be sent as the final arrangements are worked out," she writes. "For those of you who want to join us in D.C., we welcome you."