We are saddened to announce that Sybil Feldman died the evening before
Thanksgiving, November 21 of major respiratory complications that developed
after a struggle with pneumonia. A number of close friends were with her
bedside at Boston Medical Center when she passed. She was 72 years old.

Sybil was a fighter for disability justice, a woman with cerebral palsy who as
a child was sent to the Fernald School, an institution for people with
 known for human rights abuses and not providing positive
education. Sybil fought to get out and could always recite down to the day how
long she was there, which was just over 23 years. She said unflinchingly she
hated every second of it. Ultimately she lived in her own apartment with the
support of personal care attendants, establishing many friendships and carving
out a strong niche as an advocate for independent living, Olmstead compliance,
and the dignity and rights of people with disabilities.

A fixture at disability events in Boston for decades, during the 1990s Sybil
became an activist with ADAPT, protesting national policies that steered
funding to institutional care instead of community-based services. Tagged
"Sybil Disobedience" by the late disability author and advocate Laura Hershey,
she engaged in direct-action protests in locations such as the U.S. Capitol,
San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Baltimore, and Orlando. She was
arrested an estimated six times in actions that helped lay the groundwork
nationally for programs and services that enhance the freedom of people with
disabilities. Sybil also carried the disability message to members of Congress
and to the Massachusetts state legislature, governor, and attorney general in
more conventional ways, testifying in hearings and telling her story during
public meetings.

Though Sybil is not survived by any living biological family, she had many
devoted friends who in essence became her family. Over the years she received
critical services from, among others, the Bristol County Arc, the Boston
Community Medical Group, and BCIL and took to the frontlines of countless
disability rights activities as a member of the Cape Organization for Rights
of the Disabled, the Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council,
ADAPT, and BCIL. Her life after Fernald was a dramatic shout in the face of
those who would isolate, demean, and deny people with disabilities. She even
camped out overnight in 1992 in protest against Fernaldbs very existence,
this after having spent the day on a 14-mile freedom march there from Old
North Church in Boston with 20 other like-minded activists.

In the coming weeks a funeral mass will be arranged for Sybil, as will a
separate memorial gathering to celebrate her life. Check out BCIL's website
for information in the coming days.

Bill Henning, BCIL


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