William E. Jensen, 1945-2002

The Independent Living Movement has lost an admired and beloved advocate. William “Bill” Jensen died on December 8th, 2002 of disability related health problems. A native Californian and resident of Sacramento County for the last 30 years, Bill was active in the establishment of Resources for Independent Living, Inc.

With devotion and great personal generosity Bill served the disability community. Bill served on the Executive Committee of RIL’s Board of Directors for over two decades. Bill had a distinguished career as a Planner and Disability Compliance Officer at the California Department of Transportation. He was instrumental in community and statewide campaigns to improve transportation services for people with disabilities. He also worked with Paratransit Inc. and Californian’s for Disability Rights (CDR).

Those of us who loved him will never forget lionhearted Bill who always had time to research an issue of concern and offer wise counsel. We could count on Bill to be tough on independent living issues, yet remain gentle on the people he was called to struggle with. He modeled for us the ideal advocate: informed, strategic, empowering, persevering and always respectful of others.

For those of us remaining, we pledge to continue the disability rights struggle honoring Bill’s memory.