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Remembering Jim Thatcher, One of the Earliest Digital Equality Champions

Dec 14, 2019

The accessibility community mourns the loss of one of its most brilliant and compassionate pioneers. Jim Thatcher passed away on December 7, 2019.

Jim leaves a legacy of accomplishment in every sense of the word. Indeed, Jim helped to shape the world of accessibility as we know it. His work (such as helping develop the first screen reader) has benefited millions and the knowledge he shared and foundations he laid have helped pave the way for the generations to come to continue in the great work of bridging the digital divide through accessibility, work that will benefit countless individuals and bring us closer to equality as a mindset and in practice.

Lainey Feingold, a disability rights lawyer, published a touching tribute to Jim, including a section "What people said about Jim on learning he died." In a sampling of what appears to be from just one morning of social media posts, it should become clear that people truly loved Jim Thatcher, cherished his contributions to accessibility, and will miss him.

  • One Facebook user wrote, "He was the North Star to so many of us trying our best to make a difference for the better."
  • One Twitter user wrote, "It’s a terribly sad day for the #a11y world. Here’s to Jim and everything he did for people like me."
  • Another Twitter user wrote, "Jim Thatcher was a tireless advocate for accessibility and a mentor to so many. He was one of the inventors of screen reader technology. And he was my friend. He will truly be missed."

The recipient of several achievement awards, a friend to many, and a pioneer in digital equality and accessibility, Jim Thatcher made the world a better place. You can read more about Jim at

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