Each year, first-year students at Connecticut College engage in a shared summer reading along with their faculty, staff, and student advisers. The 2022 selection is Being Heumann, a memoir by disability rights activist Judith Heumann.
Being Heumann traces the story of Judith Heumann from childhood in Brooklyn, New York to her pivotal role in the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to her continued work today. Paralyzed with polio at eighteen months, Heumann’s activism began early in her life when she struggled to be allowed to attend Kindergarten in the New York CIty public schools. Being Heumann reveals the long American history of injustice against disabled people, while affirming the power of activism to liberate and heal.
Please visit Additional Resources to read book reviews about Being Heumann and see videos of interviews with the author.
Judy Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of legislation, such as Section 504, the Individuals with Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Her memoir,“Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” co-authored by Kristen Joiner, was published in 2020. She is also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, directed by James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham. Judy produces a podcast called The Heumann Perspective, which features a variety of members from the disability community.
Judy serves on a number of non-profit boards, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Humanity and Inclusion, Human Rights Watch, United States International Council on Disability, and Save the Children. She has 20 years of non-profit experience working with various disability organizations, including being a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living. Prior to starting the Judith Heumann LLC, she served in the Clinton Administration and Obama administrations.
As part of the One Book, One Region initiative of New London County, author Judith Heumann will visit the campus to discuss her life’s work on Sept 22, 2022 in Palmer Auditorium.