America makes it hard enough for a black woman to succeed at the same rate and pace as other people, and when you add to the mix being born blind and deaf to African immigrants, it would seem that the odds for success become nearly impossible. But Haben Girma beat those odds and then some to become the first deaf-and-blind graduate of Harvard Law School.
Girma was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1988 to an Ethiopian father and a mother who fled Eritrea in 1983 at the height of the country’s independence war, according to a profile on Face2Face Africa.
Growing up in California, Girma was able to benefit from a U.S. school system that recognizes the rights of people with disabilities, as well as modern technology, including a digital Braille device, which she believes contributed greatly to her success story.
Girma’s older brother, who was born in Eritrea, is also blind and deaf, but he was not able to benefit from access to the opportunities that she was afforded.
In a speech at the White House marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act…