Judy HeumannJudy Heumann

Judy Heumann, noted 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 plans to welcome Heumann for a conversation about her life, her work and her books at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19, a news release said. Attendees may register on Zoom >> or attend a livestream of the conversation in the Robbins Library Community Room.

ART, the local community read program, is now more than two decades old.

Library visitors can pick up copies of  her memoirs Being Heumann, Rolling Warrior and Fighting For Yes! at the Robbins or Fox Branch library; alternatively, they may request a copy by phone or online via the MLN catalog. Being Heumann and Rolling Warrior are also available in ebook format or audiobook via Libby.

Book discussions and other events will take place throughout March. A full schedule of events and programs are to be released in early February and will be available on the library’s website, robbinslibrary.org.

Arlingtonians will have a chance to learn more about the disability rights movement through this year’s selected ART title, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of Disability Rights by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joyner. One of the most influential disability rights activists in U.S. 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, titled Rolling Warrior. And the picture book Fighting for Yes! tells a simplified version of her story for preschoolers and their families. 

Heumann a longtime activist

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. She is an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community whose story was featured in the Netflix film "Crip Camp."

“We’re so excited to welcome Judy,” said Anna Litten, director of libraries, in the news release. “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.” 

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.

During the summer of 2022, local residents nominated more than 30 titles for the current Arlington Reads Together session. Then the ART selection committee narrowed the nominations down to one title.

Rebecca Gruber, chair of the Envision Arlington Diversity Task Group and ART selection committee member, said, "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.”

Thanks to sponsors

The 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 and the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

Questions about ART can be directed to Amanda Troha at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 781-316-3202.

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This news announcement was published Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, based on information from Anna Litten, director of libraries. YourArlington volunteer Kim Haase helped prepare it for publication.