Wade Blank led a national disability rights movement that lobbied to make buses, street corners and other public places accessible to the disabled and worked to allow them to live independently instead of in nursing homes. Blank was not disabled himself but was inspired to help the disabled after working in a nursing home.

Working with the young disabled residents at the nursing home, Wade helped start a Center for Independent Living in Denver, Colorado. The center helped people move out of nursing homes and find accessible homes in their community.

Early in his career Blank developed the concept of a “liberated community” – a society where human beings could live in equality and develop the power to effect change. Blank focused on fundamental human rights and on the most impoverished members of the disability community. Blank, a Presbyterian minister, was one of the primary founders of the Atlantis Community and ADAPT, which began as an organization that demanded accessible public transit.