Heiwa Salovitz in His Own Words

Why Oral History Matters, an Interview

by Erica Suprenant and Shannon Elizondo, ADAPT of Texas

“What brings me to oral history? Well as a person with a disability — I’ve had my disability all my life — people with disabilities tend to be seen as the invisible people. We tend not to document their stories; we tend not to listen to them; we tend not to think their lives are interesting. So that’s what brings me to oral history, ’cause I want people to learn about my story. I want to learn about theirs, and so we can see the commonality in the struggle, because we all have struggled. We all have things we can learn from each other, things we can contribute to society, and hopefully change society for the better. And it’s just interesting to hear different people’s perspectives on their life and their world experiences.” ~ Heiwa Salovitz, October 11, 2011, a member of ADAPT of Texas, https://eschucha6.rssing.com/chan-44504162/article4.html?zx=814

Speaking Out Against Voting Restrictions 

Heiwa’s testimony at the Texas Legislature against SB 1 (which unfortunately passed, imposing severe and racist voting restrictions) www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNPmAlK5u8

Rembrances of Heiwa Salovitz

From email sent by Elaine Kolb, Jan. 11, 2022

First met Heiwa Salovitz when he was in his late teens and I was almost 40. Back then, my partner, Patti Deak, was President of the Greater New Haven Disability Rights Activists (GNHDRA). Heiwa occasionally attended some of our events, sometimes held at SCSU. Patti & I agreed that Heiwa had great leadership potential.

Sometime after Patti died in 1999, Heiwa and I bonded more directly, both involved with social justice struggles. Over these years, our connection & trust deepened profoundly. Just visited him for a week in September. His personal care assistant (PCA) found him dead, sitting in his power wheelchair on January 3, 2022.

Heiwa, Japanese word meaning “peace”or “harmony.” The only “Heiwa” I’ve ever known was surely one of a kind. Yes, that’s partly why we became so close. Takes one to know one…

~ From email sent by Joan Cavanagh on Jan. 4, 2022

Heiwa Salovitz, Presente!

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

This isn’t the sort of New Year’s email I’d choose to write. In sorrow and shock I have to report the passing of a dear friend, Heiwa Salovitz, over the weekend in Austin, Texas. Heiwa was a stalwart and principled fighter for disability justice, peace (the meaning of his name), and human rights whom many of you knew. A member of the Muslim community, he was part of the work of the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice, the Greater New Haven Coalition for People, the New Haven initiatives of Amman Imman (Water is Life) and many other local groups and organizations before moving to Austin to work with Texas ADAPT.

We will have a local memorial gathering at some time in the future.

Heiwa’s life was unique, courageous and important. May his memory be for a blessing.

~ Joan Cavanagh

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