#NADHandwave: July 2014

haben girma

For this month’s #NADHandwave, the NAD is excited to recognize a person who works diligently to support people with disabilities to become better self-advocates — her name is Haben Girma.

Haben is a DeafBlind attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013, and since then has speedily engaged in a great deal of activism to promote the rights of people with disabilities. She already has been recognized twice for her hard work. First, she was recognized as one of 21 Most Impressive Students at Harvard. Second, the White House gave an award to Haben as one of the Champions of Change. She has a deep commitment to students who need more access in schools.

She currently serves as a Skadden Fellow attorney at Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), which is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Through this position, Haben has been able to break down physical and attitudinal barriers and strives to improve access for students with disabilities in schools.

Because of her work and her example, she has been highly sought as a presenter and has been giving speeches all over the United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. She is often invited to educate people about the rights of students who have disabilities. She encourages the parents of these students to have high expectations for their children.

During an interview she had with Business Insider (BI), she explained, “The sad fact is that besides Helen Keller, there are very few DeafBlind role models.” She continued, “I created my website a while back to help inspire Americans with disabilities and their supporters so that they, too, can be role models for others.”

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community. This is great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to move. If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion online!

Thank you for all the work you’ve done, Haben. We appreciate your work and we’re grateful for your commitment. Without your advocacy efforts, the need to educate others on our rights would be much harder to achieve. Congratulations on receiving this month’s #NADHandwave!