Thirty-three years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Among the people who worked tirelessly on this act, Judy Heumann, who passed away earlier this year, served as a shining champion for disabled people and a deeply loved member of the disability community.
Today, the musical tribute “Lift Me Up” honors Judy’s life and legacy. The tribute is created by artist and advocate Lachi, co-songwriters James Ian, Gaelynn Lea and April Rose, and the global network of Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD). Tony-winner Ali Stroker starts the video with an Audio Description for blind and low vision audiences. The captions and audio descriptions are sponsored by Google.
Judy’s legacy has had a lasting impact — the ADA worked to formalize the availability of everything from wheelchair ramps in public places to captions for public service announcements to relay services from telecommunication companies. It highlighted the need to work together to provide accessibility tools that break down barriers and create the best possible experience for everyone.
For us, that means working with the disability community to create more helpful products – and doing things like working on making captions and relay services even more accessible. For example, over the years we’ve worked with the Deaf community to build AI-based features like Live Caption, which automatically generates real-time captions for media and phone calls on Android and Chrome. We also built Live Transcribe, which turns real-world speech into real-time transcriptions on your phone.
Judy’s legacy showed us that universal access is possible when we create a culture of inclusion — which resonates deeply with our mission to organize the world’s information for everyone and make it universally accessible. Thank you, Judy, for paving the way.
You can continue to learn more about our latest efforts through our What’s New in Accessibility YouTube playlist.