Readers of Vox Political will be sorry to hear that Debbie Jolly, a founder and leading light of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has passed away after a short time in hospital.
Our condolences go to her friends, family and colleagues.
The work of DPAC has been hugely influential on This Blog’s reporting of disability-related issues, but I cannot say I knew Debbie well, and will leave the tributes to those who did.
Mo Stewart, author of Cash Not Care: The planned demolition of the UK welfare state, put it much better than I could when she wrote: “Debbie was a remarkable woman, a powerful ally to many and a great supporter of my research over the years. She was kind enough to endorse my recently published book, and sent congratulations when it was finally released in September.
“Debbie represented the best of the disability movement. Her concern, compassion, courage and in depth knowledge made her a powerful ally, someone to make sure people knew they were not forgotten when times were tough, and someone who never forgot to say ‘Thanks’ whenever info or help was provided.
“I’m sure DPAC members will be planning to remember Debbie in a significant way.
“For those of us who didn’t know her well, but valued all she did for the disability movement, I’d just like to say ‘Thanks Debbie’ and Rest In Peace dear lady.”
DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip has said she will be setting up an online book of condolence shortly, where we can all post messages in memory of Debbie.
On DPAC’s own website, she has written the following:
It is with great sadness that we have to tell you one of our co-founders, Debbie Jolly has died following a short hospital stay. As disabled people everywhere we’ve lost a friend and advocate and a fighter for our movement.
Debbie has played a hugely influential part in the development of DPAC since 2010 and she and I have worked together virtually every day since dealing with the day-to-day things that needed to be done to make DPAC the successful campaign group we have become.
Debbie was one of the main people involved in initiating the UN inquiry into the UK’s grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s human rights which will be a lasting testimony to her life and work.
Debbie was a warrior and tireless campaigner for disabled people’s human rights and most of all she never wanted to be hailed as a heroine or praised by others for the work that she did.
All of the steering group and our allies from Black Triangle campaign are in deep shock and I have felt very lost in the past few weeks without Debbie to support me and be by my side. Many thanks to those who have responded to my requests for help during this time.
However we know Debbie would want us to gather ourselves together and fight on so we are asking that people join us in her memory to protest next Wednesday, November 16th at parliament. Meet Old Palace Yard at 5.30 pm highlight the damning findings of the UN report.
We will also now use all means at our disposal to toxify the Tory “brand” so thoroughly that they will be remembered for generations as the party that perpetrated grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human and civil rights and we will not rest until this government is no more than a terrible part of our history.
Linda and all of the DPAC steering group
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