Although there were many disabled people of color who impacted the Civil Rights and Disability Rights movements, the media tends to forget them. As a result, DD Ombuds will be highlighting various Disabled BIPOC people who have made our society better throughout various blog posts.

Today’s post is dedicated to Brad Lomax, a disability advocate who was a part of the Black Panthers Patry with multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair as a result.

Lomax worked to have more disability accommodations in the Black community. He worked with Ed Roberts, opened a Center for Independent learning at the University of California Berkeley, to open a Center of Independent Living under Black Panther sponsorship. They protested to ensure that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act would be passed.

Lomax was a prominent member in the Black Panther Party (he started the Washington chapter) as well as an active Disability advocate. The Black Panther Party originated in Oakland, California and consisted of disenfranchised Black Men who advocated for the end of systemic racism. As a result, he was able to convince the Black Panther Party to support disability initiatives. Most notably they contributed and led the 504 sit – ins which forced the government to implement Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This prohibited people with disabilities being denied federal aid because of their disability. Lomax worked to have the Black Panthers Party assist by bringing food to the protests. This was essential because it allowed for the Disability Advocates to keep on protesting for as long as they did.

Lomax’s work was not only important because it gave disabled people more rights, it also started a conversation about disability rights around the world which led to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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