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Crosscurrents

StoryCorps: The fight for disability rights

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Protest has long been a part of Bay Area culture, from the recent Black Lives Matter marches to the AIDS activists of the '90s, to the anti-war demonstrators of the '60s and '70s.

 

 

 

Then, there's the fight for disability rights: The 1973 Rehabilitation Act made civil rights protections for disabled Americans part of federal law. But enforcement of that law lagged -- so in 1977, activists staged a nationwide sit-in at federal buildings across the country.

 

Herb Levine became an impromptu protester in that 1977 protest when he and a friend stumbled across the San Francisco sit-in and decided to stay. Levine and two other protestors managed to sneak in and out of the building, despite the guards' close watch.

 

Herb Levine: I knocked on the door. The guards came and started to say ‘You can’t come in here.’ I said, I’m not really here to come in. I’m Reverend Levine and I’m here to ask if my choir has come.

Levine shared his story with friend and former coworker Jessie Lorenz, in the StoryCorps booth at the San Francisco Public Library.

This story was produced by KALW's Allison Lee and facilitated by Storycorps San Francisco. If you want to interview a loved one for Storycorps at the San Francisco Public Library, you can make an online reservation here