Independent Lens: Life Worth Living
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Independent Lens: Life Worth Living

Monday, December 17 at 10:00 p.m.

People with disabilities are one of the largest minorities in the United States.

But for most of American history, they occupied a sub-class of millions without access to everyday things most citizens take for granted: schools, apartment buildings, public transportation, and more. Some were forcibly sterilized under state laws. Others were committed to horrifying institutions where they were left and forgotten.

After World War II, however, things began to change, thanks to a small group of determined people with an unwavering determination to live their lives like anyone else, and to liberate all disabled Americans of the limitations their government refused to accommodate.

This film is an oral history, told by the movement's mythical heroes themselves, and illustrated through the use of rare archival footage. The story features Fred Fay, who suffered a spinal cord injury at age 17 in 1961, and simply refused to be relegated to life’s sidelines just because he couldn’t walk. He fought tirelessly for decades for equal rights, access, and opportunity for the disabled, including advocating for programs allowing the disabled to live independently.

Fred Fay’s life proves that one man can change the world, even though he has to lie flat on his back just to stay alive. “Lives Worth Living” looks at Fay’s struggle to survive after a spinal cord injury and the small group of dedicated activists who formed the disability rights movement to drive the nation toward equal rights.