Judy Heumann, lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people and author of the memoir Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of Disability Rights, will be the featured speaker for the annual Arlington Reads Together (ART) program in March 2023. The Robbins Library welcomes Heumann for a conversation about her life, her work, and her book on Sunday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. Attendees can register on Zoom, or attend a livestream of the conversation in the Robbins Library Community Room. 

Arlingtonians will have a chance to learn more about the disability rights movement through this year’s selected ART title. One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history, Heumann tells her story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human. This book is also available in a young readers edition, Rolling Warrior. The picture book Fighting for Yes! tells Judy’s story for young readers and families. 

Heumann found her voice as an activist at a young age and has worked in collaboration with other disabled people to fight for access, rights, and inclusion. Judy is now an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community. “We’re so excited to welcome Judy,” says Anna Litten, director of libraries. “Judy’s story is about giving agency to disenfranchised people, building movements to drive change, and doing it all with verve. Her story and her example are truly remarkable.” Heumann’s story is also featured in the Netflix film, Crip Camp

Library visitors can pick up copies of Being Heumann, Rolling Warrior, and Fighting For Yes! at the Robbins or Fox Branch library, or request a copy by phone or online via the MLN catalogBeing Heumann and Rolling Warrior are also available in ebook or audiobook via Libby. Book discussions and other events will take place throughout March.  A full schedule of events and programs will be released in early February and available on the library’s website robbinslibrary.org.

The Arlington Reads Together community read program launched in 2002 as a way of bringing Arlington together through literature. The goal is to address issues, understand differences and create connections through shared experience. Community read book selections are chosen by a committee of library staff and supporters, librarians from Arlington Public Schools, members of the Diversity Task Group of Envision Arlington, and other community partners. 

Community members nominated over thirty titles for the Arlington Reads Together pick over the summer of 2022.  The ART selection committee was tasked with narrowing the nominations down to one ART title. Rebecca Gruber, Chair of the Envision Arlington Diversity Task Group and ART selection committee member says “Part of being human is recognizing that we are all differently abled, and however one is currently abled may not be how one is abled in the future. Reading Being Heumann made me much more cognizant of that for both myself, my loved ones, and my neighbors.  This book builds understanding and empathy to what being human really means.”

2023 Community partners for Arlington Reads Together programs include: The Arlington Libraries Foundation, The Friends of Robbins Library, the Diversity Task Group of Envision Arlington, the Arlington Disability Commission, Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

Questions can be directed to Amanda Troha at atroha@minlib.net or 781-316-3202.