ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) - Empowering People to Live Independently.

James Brady, Also a Noted Disability Advocate

Disability can strike any person at any moment. Nobody personified this fact more than James S. Brady, who woke up able-bodied on March 30, 1981, but barely survived the day. Jim Brady, who passed away on August 4 at 73, was shot in the head during John Hinckley’s assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The President, hit by a bullet that ricocheted off his limousine, fully recovered. Mr. Brady was left with major permanent disabilities that he lived with for more than 33 years. His massive brain injury impacted him physically -- he was partially paralyzed and used a wheelchair -- and mentally.

Jim Brady’s name was incorporated into the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that his wife Sarah chaired, and he was commemorated in the name of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (also known as the Brady Bill). Less well-known than his gun control activity was Mr. Brady’s work as a disability advocate. It has been little detailed in the media coverage of his passing, but he was the Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability for many years, a post in which he was succeeded by another famous leader whose life changed in a random moment, Christopher Reeve.

After accepting Founding President Alan Reich’s invitation to become N.O.D.’s Vice Chairman in 1989, Mr. Brady advocated passionately for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His support was important to the passage of this bipartisan bill, which President Bush signed in 1990. A lifelong Republican who had taken a bullet serving Ronald Reagan, Mr. Brady was in a strong position to make the case, as he put it, that “People with disabilities – the largest minority in the U.S. – were left out of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964… Congress has a chance to correct this injustice.” [His excellent op-ed on the topic in the New York Times can still be read at: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/29/opinion/save-money-help-the-disabled.html ]

Nobody chooses to have a disability. Mr. Brady was a champion of disability rights who used his experience to advocate for opportunities for his fellow Americans with disabilities.

Brewster Thackeray
Executive Director
ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia

Mr. Thackeray was Vice President of the National Organization on Disability and had the privilege to work with Mr. Brady.

Northern Virginia Disability Advocates Join Two National Rallies in DC Tuesday

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brianna Gross -- 703/673-4497 -- briannag@ecnv.org

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2014 – Staff, Board members, and other affiliates of the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) will join disability advocates from around the nation at two major rallies at the United States Capitol on Tuesday, July 29th. They will advocate for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and domestic legislative priorities. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Annual March and Rally, and the Rally for the CRPD organized by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USCID), will draw hundreds of disability rights advocates from across the country. ECNV and other local and national disability rights organizations are participating in the rallies to show their support for disability rights issues including the CRPD.

“ECNV is proud to join with NCIL and other disability rights organizations to advocate for the CRPD,” said Brewster Thackeray, Executive Director of ECNV. “Coming just days after the 24th anniversary of the ADA, we are motivated to keep up the momentum to ensure full independence and opportunities for people with disabilities in our country and worldwide.”

The CRPD is an international treaty to protect the rights of people with disabilities around the world. 147 countries have ratified the CRPD, but in 2012 the U.S. Senate fell 5 votes short of ratification. The Senate decided to take up the CRPD again, and on July 22, 2014 the CRPD was passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee. The next step is for a Senate Floor vote. Over 750 U.S. disability rights groups support the CRPD as well as civil rights groups, faith organizations, veterans groups, and major business groups.

The NCIL rally begins with a march from the Grand Hyatt at H & 10th Streets NW, with the rally itself at the Capitol Reflecting Pool/Union Square at 11:30 a.m. It is a part of an annual week-long conference for disability rights activists. Following the rally, NCIL will conduct visits to Congressional offices to advocate for the CRPD and other legislative priorities including funding for affordable accessible housing, employment equality, and thanking Congress for passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The disability community will also honor Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a long time disability advocate, who will retire after this term.

The CRPD Rally will depart from the site of the NCIL rally about 12:15.

Please click here for more information on the CRPD.
Please click here for more information on the NCIL rally.


The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) is a community-based resource and advocacy center which is managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living (IL) philosophy and equal access for all persons regardless of disability. We operate from a philosophy of consumer control and peer-to-peer relationships to empower people with physical, mental, cognitive and sensory disabilities to direct their own lives.