Adam H. Kerman
2019-09-08 18:56:49 UTC
Marca Bristo died this morning, September 8, 2019, lifelong advocate
for living independently despite disabilities.
I met her a few times in the mid 1980s. She was known for a couple of
acts of civil disobedience, blocking Chicago Transit Authority buses,
and inspiring others to do the same. It was annoying. Attention seeking
is not an effective long term strategy.
But she was absolutely superior at calling a newspaper reporter or
especially newspaper columnists and putting a bug in his ear. This made her
a truly effective advocate, a lot better than anyone advocating for transit.
As a young adult, she had a devastating diving accident that left her
paraplegic. After this, she got married and had a family. In her spare time,
she founded National Council on Independent Living. She would lobby for
Americans With Disabilities Act, and was part of the Clinton administraiton.
Her true accomplishment was founding Access Living. It began life associated
with the well-regarded Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. After completing
rehab, one would often be referred to Access Living for life long support.
Access Living has helped a great many people live independent lives.
I just read that she'd remained on the job till a few weeks ago when she
became too sick to work and then was put into hospice. I don't know how she
died, but whatever it was, it was relatively quick.