Haben Girma Receives the First Dr. Alan R. Morse Lecture in Advocacy for People with Vision Impairment

Lighthouse Guild Honors Human Rights Lawyer for Advancing Disability Justice and Inclusion

New York, Sept. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lighthouse Guild announced today that the noted human rights lawyer and disability justice advocate Haben Girma is the first recipient of The Dr. Alan R. Morse Lecture in Advocacy for People with Vision Impairment. The Morse Lecture in Advocacy was established this year to honor those who have demonstrated leadership, raised awareness of low vision, addressed barriers, and are working to make a world where no person is limited by their sensory capacity.

The Morse Lecture in Advocacy is named for Dr. Alan R. Morse, Lighthouse Guild’s President Emeritus, for his years of dedicated efforts in the research and treatment of vision loss, including functional implications of vision loss, communication issues in care delivery, patient perspectives and engagement in treatment, behavioral determinants of adherence, and impacts of vision loss for healthcare delivery.  The award includes a $25,000 honorarium.

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma believes that disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. She speaks frequently about accessibility, diversity and leadership and is the author of the memoir Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, which has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine and the TODAY Show.

“Haben Girma has created a global movement that has impacted countless lives and will continue to do so,” said Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “We thank her for her extraordinary advocacy and unparalleled contributions to facilitating innovation and ensuring inclusion. The Morse Lecture in Advocacy was created to honor individuals who act and make a difference, and we are thrilled that Ms. Girma is the first recipient.”

Ms. Girma was named White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama and has also received the Helen Keller Achievement Award and spots on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and TIME100Talks. She has been honored by President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chancellor Angela Merkel. She received a Lighthouse Guild Scholarship in 2006 toward her undergraduate studies at Lewis and Clark College. 

“As a Deafblind student in college, I witnessed advocates using the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to change social attitudes and felt inspired to join them. Back then, and even now, I have encountered many barriers in the digital world not because of my disability, but because of attitudes among tech developers that trivialize access for disabled people,” Ms. Girma says. “Technology exists to make digital information accessible. Programming for accessibility allows a greater number of people to access videos, webpages, articles, apps, and other information. I’m particularly honored to receive this award from Lighthouse Guild, an organization that understands the importance of technology in breaking down barriers and ensuring inclusion.”

The award will be presented in a ceremony in New York in November at which Ms. Girma will discuss her work.

About Lighthouse Guild 
Lighthouse Guild provides exceptional services that inspire people who are visually impaired to attain their goals, offering coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation, technology, and behavioral health as well as related services. The Lighthouse Guild Technology Center provides people with vision loss access to the latest assistive devices and state-of-the-art technology. The Lighthouse Guild podcast series, On Tech & Vision with Dr. Cal Roberts,” offers information and insights about technological innovations that are tearing down barriers for people who are blind or visually impaired.


Recipient of the First Dr. Alan R. Morse Lecture in Advocacy for People with Vision Impairment

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