Jill Hummels
Office of the Provost

Haben Girma to speak at KU for Disability Employment Awareness Month

Mon, 10/02/2017

LAWRENCE — A nationally recognized advocate and speaker on disability, equity, inclusion and employment will bring her message to the University of Kansas campus this month.

Haben Girma, the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard University School of Law, will address embracing inclusion and innovation as part of KU’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebration. KU’s ADA Resource Center for Equity & Accessibility and 14 other campus offices and organizations partnered to bring Girma to KU.

Girma’s presentation will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in Capitol Federal Hall Auditorium, Room 1111. The presentation, which will include a question and answer session with Girma, is free and open to the public.

“We are very excited to bring someone of her reputation to our campus,” said Catherine Johnson, director of accessibility and ADA education at KU. “Haben Girma brings an empowering message about the importance of creating and celebrating an inclusive environment for working and living.”

An advocate for equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities, Girma travels the world consulting and public speaking, imparting the benefits of fully accessible products and services. Former President Barack Obama named her a White House Champion of Change, and Forbes recognized her in Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Through storytelling she helps people frame difference as an asset. Because of her disability rights advocacy, she has been honored by Obama, former President Bill Clinton and many others. In 2015, she was selected to introduce Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden at the White House 25th anniversary Celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She has been featured extensively in media around the world, including the BBC, NBC, Forbes, NPR and many others.

A reception will follow the presentation. Girma also will be available for photos and autographs after the event. Attendees are urged to RSVP so organizers can better accommodate all guests. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all KU-sponsored events. Communication Across Realtime Translation (CART) and American Sign Language (ASL) will be provided for this event. Individuals who require an accommodation in order to participate should contact the ADA Resource Center for Equity & Accessibility, 785-864-4946,, by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.

Learn more about Girma.

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