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Haben Girma Is Harvard Law’s First Deaf-Blind Graduate


Haben Girma who was born deaf and blind is Harvard Law School’s first deaf-blind graduate. Grim graduated in 2013 from Harvard, and received her B.A., magna cum laude, in 2010 from Lewis & Clark College.



Girma is an Eritrean-American attorney who “advocates for the civil rights of persons with disabilities. A celebrated speaker, she provided the introductory remarks for the 25th Anniversary of the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] at the White House”.

After Grima's family faced difficulties finding a school in Eritrea for Haben’s older brother who was also born deaf-blind, they moved to the United States. Haben was born deaf-blind in America, but had access to opportunities afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“For my grandmother back in Africa, my success in law school seemed like magic,” said Girma when she introducing President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at a White House event celebrating 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “For all of us here, we know people with disabilities succeed not by magic, but through opportunities in America, and the hard won power of the ADA.”

Watch her speech below.

Photo: White House/Courtesy of Haben Girma

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