Betty Williams: Disability Rights in Black 2020

February 27, 2020
Betty Williams: Disability Rights in Black 2020

Today we observe Black History Month in remembrance of Betty Williams! Beloved by many, Betty was a legendary self-advocate from Indiana who believed in everyone’s right to hope and dream. From President Obama’s Committee for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities to community-based meetings, she took every presented opportunity to teach, engage and prioritize issues of importance to self-advocates.

Betty stands outside on a sunny day, wearing a red shirt and smile at the camera.

Photo courtesy of The Arc of Indiana

Betty passed on in 2018, however her indomitable spirit can be felt through all those she supported, mentored, and whose work she strengthened. Check out this beautiful tribute video made in her loving memory by The Arc of Indiana.


There are some people who believe that people with disabilities shouldn’t be speaking out, but we are the experts in our own lives, not others who think they know everything about us.  No one knows me better than myself.  This is why self-advocates have to keep advocating not only for ourselves, but also for others who want our help.  We also need and want people involved who will listen and support us to become what we want to better our lives.


– Betty Williams

More about Betty Williams:

  • Betty served The Arc of Indiana as our Education and Training Coordinator
  • She was the former president and long time board member of Self-Advocates of Indiana and SABE – Self Advocates Becoming Empowered
    • She served as President of SABE from 2010 to 2012 and as President of Self-Advocates of Indiana from 2005 to 2010
  • Over the years, Betty also served on The Arc’s board of directors at the local, state, and national levels
  • Member of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community’s Consumer Advisory Committee
  • Lay Member of the Indiana Developmental Disabilities Commission since 1998
  • Member of the Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities
  • Appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • She received the Spirit Award from the GCPD in 2014
  • Honored by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) with the Champions of Equal Opportunity Award
  • Recognized by Senior and Disability Action as one of 14 black disabled women who have had a powerful impact – along with Harriet Tubman, Barbara Jordan, and Maya Angelou
  • Graduated from Partners in Policy Making in 1992

Share our tribute to Betty Williams on Facebook and Twitter.


<< Return to Disability Rights in Black main page