Laura Ann Hershey
Laura Ann Hershey
Place of Birth
Date of Birth
Born 8/11/62 Died 11/26/2010
Activism & Advocacy
Colorado College Remembering a remarkable leader, writer, and alumna
Hershey directed Denver’s Commission for People with Disabilities; led the Disability Center for Independent Living; co-founded the Domestic Violence Initiative; consulted with Denver regional municipalities assisting with ADA implementation and LGBT inclusion; wrote an ongoing disability-themed column for the Denver Post; blogged for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s website; and worked with local municipalities to ensure mandated access policies were applied.
One of her most famous works is a poem called You Get Proud By Practicing. It has been translated into Spanish and French; set to music by the Minnesota Women’s Consortium; performed by the Matrix Theater Justin D’Artists. The poem has been the topic of social justice conferences, published in numerous poetry and disability-themed anthologies; made into a poster and set to music by two LGBT choirs.
Hershey elevated the status of women with disabilities by demonstrating that a woman with the most significant disability could have a successful career, enjoy a fulfilling family and home life, and travel the world. Hershey was very open about her own disability, and she devoted herself to breaking down barriers and building bridges so that society could understand disability as a natural part of life rather than as a burden. By taking the social justice perspective, she was able to communicate her ideas on a political level, de-emphasizing the pity, fear, and shame she was confronted with as a child on the MDA Telethon. Accomplishing all of this, she changed the paradigm and instilled a pride in a disability that had been unthinkable previously.