What makes an activist? What makes the Bay Area a hub for disability activism? The Changemakers in this theme are all known for the never-ending work of maintaining and furthering disability civil rights. 

Some are veteran protesters from the 504 sit-in of 1977 and some are young dynamos, harnessing social media to create change. While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 created an important legal framework, there is still much to do. Many disabled people still face barriers to employment and full participation in society. As veteran protester Dennis Billups said: “We would like more a piece of the American Pie.”

Discover how the activists below are doing the relentless work of protecting the rights of disabled people and pushing hard for further change.

A confident drawing of the head and shoulders of an African American man wearing dark glasses. A vibrant lemon background contrasts with his face and the flood of deep purple of his sweater.
Dennis Billups by Eric Boysaw, pencil and watercolor, 16 x 20 inches, 2019

White ink on a black background. A complex layer of energetic black lines on the left, which connect to a serene face on its side to the right.
Allie Cannington by Curtis Simmons Styrofoam print, 9 x 12 inches, 2019
Four small pencil drawings of a man in the middle of white textured paper have varied expressions and colorful clothes. The man on the right raises his arm from his wheelchair.
Lawrence Carter-Long by Jonathan Valdivias, pencil and oil pastel, 16 x 29 inches, 2019

Painted with delicate strokes, a head and shoulders portrait of a confident woman with long dark hair, a pearl necklace and blue dress.
Haben Girma by Ade Lewis, watercolor, 12 x 16 inches, 2019

A three quarter portrait of a woman of color wearing a bright green top, wearing elegant jewelry, gazes to our right. Behind her a vibrant tropical background with palm trees and a bright pink building.
La Mesha Irizarry by Fitu Petaia Pen and colored pencil, 11 x 14 inches, 2019
A small pencil drawing of a figure on paper with relief printed chunky misaligned woodblock letters. At the top the word: “Adrienne” and at the bottom: “KPFA fm”
Adrienne Lauby by Felicia Griffin Letterpress print, pencil drawing, 16 x 20 inches, 2019
Created with soft pencil tones, a white woman in a power wheelchair has both arms stretching to touch huge trees, with a lush forest behind.
Bonnie Lewkowicz by Zachary Umar-Durr, Graphite, 11 x 14 inches, 2019
A delicate pencil drawing of the head and shoulders of a young man with short tousled hair and a moustache. His shirt is patterned with pink flamingoes and he smiles broadly.
Alex Locust by Joseph “JD” Green Graphite, 11 x 14 inches, 2019
The head and shoulders of a young woman with short brown hair, bright green glasses and a green and white horizontal striped top is drawn with bold felt pens. She wears a small white trach device around her neck.
Stacey Milburn by Darrell Holmes and Donna Kurtz Watercolor paint, pencil and marker pen, 11 x 14 inches, 2019
The head and shoulders of a smiling woman with turquoise dress and large oval, sun gold earrings. She is surrounded by a design of small multi-colored daisies.
Mia Mingus by Lolita Triplette Marker pens, 11 x 14 inches, 2019
Created with charcoal and smudgy pastels, the head and shoulders of a confident African American man in front of a window. The wall behind him is decorated with a large red and yellow flower.
Leroy Moore by Raven Harper, pastel, 16 x 20 inches, 2019
An Asian American man with wire-rimmed glasses has a broad smile that is almost a laugh. His hair is blue and the same color as his striped shirt.
Bruce Oka by Harrison Walkowiak Pen and watercolor, 11 x 15 inches, 2019
Created with confident painterly strokes, the head and shoulders of a man with a brown beard and moustache, black-rimmed glasses, black trilby hat, dark blue shirt, patterned tie and dark waistcoat.
Drago Renteria by Camille Holvoet Acrylic paint, 16 x 20 inches, 2019
The head and shoulders of a woman with shoulder-length black hair and red lips in outline pen on bright, white paper. Billy White’s signature is drawn with a large brush in the top left.
Rebecca Williford by Billy White, pen and pastel, 16 x 20 inches, 2019

A head and shoulders pencil drawing of an Asian American woman wearing glasses taking a sideways look at the viewer.
Alice Wong by Yang “Buurin” Yu-Zhen Pencil, 16 x 20 inches, 2019

A monochrome painting in black and white and shades of grey, of the head and shoulders of a white man with short hair, and round glasses, wearing a suit. He stands in front of abundant bookshelves.
Stanley Yarnell by Tyrone Eric Johnson Acrylic paint on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2019