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November 29th is an important date in LDA history. On that date in 1975, Public Law 94-142 (now known as IDEA) was signed into law. One of our organizations strongest parent advocates and policy experts, Justine Maloney, joined LDA that year. And 40 years later, fittingly, she passed away on that momentous anniversary.

In 1976, Justine helped plan a series of workshops for parents to explain what the new legislation would mean to them and their children in school. And for years after that, she trained, rallied, and advocated for the rights of individuals with learning disabilities. Justine was LDA’s Washington Representative for many years, having been named to LDA’s (then) Governmental Affairs Committee (now Public Policy Committee) in 1981 and had served on that committee consistently ever since. She served on LDA’s national board and Executive Committee, as well as various other committees over the years. But her passion and experience was legislation and governmental affairs. She represented LDA on various committees of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) as well. In 2001, Justine received the LDA Award, the highest recognition the organization bestows, for her leadership, support, and dedication in the field of learning disabilities.

Some of the tributes that came in from across the country, upon hearing the news of her passing, included:

It is impossible to describe her contributions to LDA and our cause. She was tireless, fearless, passionate and smart, and totally devoted to the LDA cause. I cherish every mile I walked in DC with her, even to the White House and the Rose Garden for the signing of the ADA; to the Secretary of Education’s office where she minced not a single word in describing the desperate needs of children with learning disabilities.
– LaNelle Gallagher, Texas, Past National President

Justine was an amazing person and an outstanding advocate for people with disabilities. She was an incredible force in LDA for almost its entire existence.
– Pat Latham, Washington, DC, Past National President

Our dear Justine- there was none better. She trained and supported so many of us. Rest in peace wonderful friend.
– Ann Kornblet, Missouri, Past National President

This is a great loss–there’s no one like Justine–never will be, again. Truly the passing of an era and an icon.
– B.J. Wiemer, Missouri, Board member

From the halls of Congress to the halls of LDA … her legacy will live on in our hearts and minds.

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