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First Deaf and Blind Harvard Law Graduate Says Accessibility Isn’t Charity

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By Salem Solomon

Author Haben Girma, a lawyer who was born deaf and blind and is an advocate for accessibility.

WASHINGTON – Haben Girma, a lawyer born deaf and blind, has advocated for accessibility from her hometown of Oakland, California, all the way to the White House. Now, she has written a book about her journey.

In a phone interview with VOA, Girma read questions on a braille display after they were typed out by an interpreter. She said her parents, immigrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea, refused to listen to those who said she could not do certain things.

“One of the biggest challenges is people’s attitudes. People would say to my parents, ‘Oh, poor thing, she’ll never go to school; she’ll never get a job.’ And that was really hard for my parents to hear. It’s hard for me to hear, too,” she said. “Kids with disabilities want to hear that they’ll be successful. But society often tells us, from very young, that we won’t do anything….Continue reading

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