Growing up pre-ADA, both Joe and Linda’s parents had high expectations that each would be independent.
Joe contracted polio at 8 months. He went to “special school” until 4th grade, and then switched to public schools. He went on to college, and got his first job in billing at the Center for Living and Working via the Bay State Wheelers (wheelchair basketball). As Joe noticed discrimination and barriers, he took up the challenge and became involved in individual and systemic advocacy. Joe talks about how Disability Rights needs ongoing attention. Today, Joe works at Easter Seals Massachusetts and is on the board at MetroWest Center for Independent Living.
Linda Long-Bellil, like her husband Joe, had a disability at a very young age. She talks about meeting Joe, and the similarities of their lives and values.