Alumnus remembers disability rights movement

In April 1977 up to 100 people with disabilities occupied the federal building in San Francisco to demand their civil rights. SF State alumnus Dennis Billups was part of the Bay Area occupation that lasted 26 days. The unfamiliar story is being told once more through the “Patient No More: People with disabilities securing civil rights” exhibit, put together by SF State’s Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability. Known as the chief morale officer, Billups shares part of his story that significantly changed the way people with disabilities were seen in America. Read the full story: Exhibit celebrates historic civil rights victory for people with disabilities

 

Transcription:

[Transcription]

[Audio Transcription]

Logo appears Golden Gate Xpress.

Black and white photos of Dennis Billups from the 1977 protest of the Federal Building in San Francisco. He wears large-rimmed glasses and a flannel shirt.

[Dennis Billups]

Hello my name is Dennis Billups. I was born and raised in San Francisco, California.

[Audio Transcription]

More black and white photos. Dennis is in the center of a large crowd, speaking into a microphone.

[Dennis Billups]

My role in 504 was to find my role because I didn’t know exactly what it was. One of them was speaker, one of them was activist.

[Audio Transcription]

Photos of the “Patient no More” exhibit launch celebration San Francisco State University.

[Dennis Billups]

I can’t remember the day, I think it was April 7 of 1977, when we decided that we were going to make a difference in society– to show the world and society that disabled persons could and can help themselves to a greater benefit of the American pie.

[Audio Transcription]

Photos of the “Patient no More” exhibit launch celebration at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley.

[Dennis Billups]

The Rehabilitation Act, as far as I know, was an act that, were going to permit disabled persons certain abilities to have access to schools and other educational facilities as well as sidewalks, buses, elevators, to move societies into the direction where people with wheelchairs, canes, crutches, quadriplegics, hearing-impaired, could exist.

[Dennis Billups stirring the crowd with a Section 504 chant during the “Patient No More” exhibit launch at SF State.]

[Audio Description]

Photographs courtesy of HoILynn D’Lil, The San Francisco Examiner Archive Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley, James Chan San Francisco State University and Hannah Anderson, LCA Communications San Francisco State University. Produced by Lulu Orozco and Jocelyn Carranza.

 

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