Wee Woo: 2018 Commencement Speakers

Graduation season is upon us, and that means listening to commencement speeches–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some notable keynote speakers this year: Hillary Clinton at Yale, Mindy Kaling at Dartmouth, Chance the Rapper at Dillard, and Judy Heumann at Brooklyn College.

Heumann–who will receive an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters–is highly regarded as the “mother of the independent living disability rights movement.” At the age of five, Heumann was rendered quadriplegic after contracting the polio virus. In the following years, as she sought to receive a formal education and eventually have a teaching position of her own, she repeatedly found herself a victim of disability discrimination. When she was denied a teacher’s license due to “paralysis of both lower extremities,” Heumann successfully filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education and became the first public school teacher in New York City to use a wheelchair.

For decades, Heumann has advocated on behalf of disabled people internationally–she specifically emphasizes the importance of access to education in breaking down the everyday societal challenges faced by people with disabilities. Below is a video of Heumann’s TedxTalk from last year.

 

 

I questioned whether or not Brooklyn College was capable of finding a keynote speaker that could live up to the expectations set by Bernie Sanders–but it seems they have done just that. 😀

Also, here’s a link to learn more about this year’s speaker.

-MC

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