Gabriela Brimmer: Google celebrates 75th birthday of Mexican disability rights activist
Happy Birthday, Gabriela Brimmer!
Today Google doodles celebrates the 75th birthday of Gabriela "Gaby" Raquel Brimmer, the Mexican writer and disability rights activist. She used to say, "life makes me to do it. Her message to people with disabilities was to rethink their ways of living by forgetting the limits imposed by others.
Brimmer made impactful contributions to books and films that authentically portrayed her experience as a person with cerebral palsy, ultimately creating more opportunities for those in the disabled community.
Brimmer was born in Mexico City in 1947 to parents who escaped Nazi Austria. Soon after, her parents learned she had severe cerebral palsy, a muscular disorder that can affect a person's movement, muscle tone, and posture. Brimmer’s caregivers taught her to communicate through written words and poetry, as she was nonverbal.
Her left leg and foot, the only part of her body she could move, became her means of communication with the world. As depicted in today’s artwork, she wrote beautiful passages by using a typewriter that she operated with the big toe on her left foot.
In 1955, she was enrolled in a rehabilitation center's elementary school where a teacher recognized her talent with words and recommended that she become a writer. In 1967, Brimmer entered a regular school. Her Language Arts teacher was a poet who also persuaded her to write. That very same year she started to write poems. The first time her mother read one of her poems she was deeply moved, cried, and asked her to keep them all so that a book could be published. Brimmer could only type on the typewriter with a toe from her left foot, the only part of her body she could control. In 1971, she was accepted into the Social and Political Sciences department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico as a Sociology major but did not graduate.
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Brimmer later teamed up with Mexican novelists and journalists to write three bestselling books that accurately depicted her life. She also worked with producers to repurpose her autobiography into the movie Gaby, a True Story (1987), which won Golden Globes and Oscar nominations.
Brimmer went on to found the Association for the Rights of People with Motor Disabilities and participated in many other organizations that advocated for disability rights and accessibility.
In 2016, the Gaby Brimmer National Center for Rehabilitation and Educational Integration was created in her honor.'
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