Launching a career at the intersection of law, education and civil rights

2 min read

When Haben Girma ’13 was in college at Lewis & Clark, she had to solve a problem that few other students have faced. As a deaf-blind student with very limited sight and hearing, she had a hard time figuring out the food stations in her school’s cafeteria. As she explained in a speech on Jan. 16, 2012, at the Perkins School for the Blind, she came up with a plan where she would be emailed the menu each day for each station and could pick her destination accordingly, instead of just taking whatever was put on her plate. But the manager sent the email only about half the time. When she wrote to him to complain, he responded, as she described in her speech, “that the cafeteria was very busy, that they were doing me a big favor, and that I should stop complaining and be more appreciative.” At that point, Girma turned to the law: “I explained that Title III of the ADA requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities; if the cafeteria refused to do this, I would sue.” The manager found her during mealtime the next day and apologized, and from then on she received the menus as promised.

Read more on the Harvard Law School website.