Beacon Press: Being Heumann
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Being Heumann

An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

Authors: Judith Heumann, Kristen Joiner

One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.

A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society.

Paralyzed from polio at eighteen months, Judy’s struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her paralysis, Judy’s actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people.

As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples’ rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann’s memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.
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“It’s one of the ironies of American life that the one category into which almost all of us will fit at some time in our lives—people with disabilities—is often the last on the list of included groups in this country. From advanced pregnancy to a broken leg, from wheeling a baby carriage up a ramp instead of stairs to the hearing and mobility impairment of aging—most of us will have some experience of what many of us always live with. I met Judy Heumann almost four decades ago, and her writing, activist skills, and kindness helped me to see this simple truth. Her life story as an activist will enlighten readers everywhere.”
—Gloria Steinem

“When disabled individuals fight for respect, empowerment, and civil rights, they are fighting for the dignity of us all. Judy’s vision of a society that embraces all aspects of the human condition and where we face adversity with wisdom is truly transformative. Judy Heumann embodies resilience, strength, and compassion and can help others build these within themselves and their community. All who read her book will be better for it.”
—Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, author of Lean In


Being Heumann

ISBN: 978-080701929-0
Publication Date: 2/25/2020
Size:5.5 x 8.5 Inches (US)
Price:  $25.95
Format: Cloth
Not Yet Published
Will Ship On: February 2020
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