Pacific Standard: The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: Haben Girma

Haben Girma is deaf-blind, and the first such person to have graduated from Harvard Law School. Now, she’s using her law degree to make sure the Internet is as surf-able for people like her as it is for people who can see and hear.

Raised by refugee parents from Eritrea and Ethiopia, Haben grew up in Oakland, California. She and her older brother, who is also deaf-blind, went through childhood with her parents telling her about what life in Eritrea was like during the nation’s 30-year struggle for independence from Ethiopia. “My family’s stories,” she says, “taught me patience and resilience at an early age, inspiring my disability rights advocacy in the United States.”

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