Washington, DC based disability and human rights activist Robert "Bobby" Coward passed away recently. The 50-year-old quadriplegic was a person with a disability (PWD) for approximately 20 years. Coward was an active member of the national disability rights group ADAPT, a direct action organization controlled by PWD. The group uses civil disobedience as a tactic to garner attention to civil rights issues for PWD, including community based services and supports. These services and supports of our people like Coward to live in the community instead of in institutions. Coward, himself was arrested several times fighting for these services.
Many of Coward's friends learned the use of his death on Aug. 25 via social media and were, for the most part stunned. Fellow advocate, Rochelle Harrod wrote on Coward's Facebook page on Aug. 26 "Still can't believe your not here.. My friend you truly showed us how to speak up for ourselves. World Class advocate for human and disability rights."
Coward's friend Angela Miller wrote, "I; Lord, will miss him more than the sun shines!"
On Aug. 27, fellow ADAPT member, Sandy Richards commented, "He's in heaven now partying with Wade Blank, Larry Ruiz and the rest of the gang."
This echoed the sentiment of many ADAPT members who felt that Bobby was now resting in power with every other group member who has past on and will watch over them and their endeavors to achieve further liberation for PWD. Almost every person commented that Coward would expect them to continue work to, as the popular chant says, "Free our people!"
Coward's life remembrance service will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 9 at beginning at 10 a.m. with a viewing and followed at 11 a.m. by a service at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church. The church is located at 4201 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.. It is one block from Tenley Metro (red line)-west exit.. The wheelchair accessible entrance is on 42nd Street NW. The Srrvice will be ASL interpreted. There is no word yet on virtual attendance possibilities.