Marca Bristo

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Marca Bristo
Marcia Lynn Bristo

June 23, 1953
DiedSeptember 8, 2019 (aged 66)
Alma materBeloit College
Rush University
OccupationNurse, disability rights advocate
Known forContribution to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Marca Bristo (June 23, 1953 – September 8, 2019) was an American disability rights activist.

Life and career[edit]

Bristo was born Marcia Lynn Bristo on June 23, 1953,[1] in Albany, New York, and was raised on a family farm in Castleton-on-Hudson, New York before moving to West Winfield, New York. She attended Beloit College and earned her nursing degree from Rush University in Chicago. Early in her career, she worked at the Prentice Women's Hospital.

Bristo was paralyzed from the chest down in a diving accident in 1977, when she was 23 years old.[2] In 1983, she co-founded the American National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) with Max Starkloff and Charlie Carr.[3] She helped to write the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, was granted the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award, the Americans with Disabilities Act Award and the 2014 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards.[4][2] She was also the chair of the American National Council on Disability from 1994 to 2002, and as such was its first disabled chair.[5][2] In 2014 she became president of the United States International Council on Disabilities.[4] She was also the president and chief executive officer of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, of which she was a founder.[6][7]

Bristo died at the age of 66 in Chicago.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Who's Who in the Midwest: A Biographical Dictionary of Noteworthy Men and Women of the Central and Midwestern States". A. N. Marquis Company. Sep 9, 2005. Retrieved Sep 9, 2019 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c "Spirit Triumphant". Chicago magazine.
  3. ^ "Disability History Timeline". Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Independent Living Management. Temple University. 2002. Archived from the original on 2013-12-20.
  4. ^ a b "Marca Bristo - Access Living". Retrieved Sep 9, 2019.
  5. ^ "The U.S. and the CRPD: An Interview with USICD President Marca Bristo". NationofChange. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22.
  6. ^ "MetroWest Center for Independent Living, Inc.: Marca Bristo".
  7. ^ "MARCA BRISTO". Independent Living Services of Northern California.
  8. ^ "Disability Rights Advocate, Access Living Founder Marca Bristo Dies – CBS Chicago". Retrieved Sep 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Rifkin, Glenn (2019-09-08). "Marca Bristo, Influential Advocate for the Disabled, Dies at 66". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-08.