All Community Read: A Spotlight on Disability Rights | Facing History & Ourselves
Photo of Judy Heumann with her two books

All Community Read: A Spotlight on Disability Rights

Participating in our All Community Read? This list of recommended resources can support you and your school if you would like to join us on our disability rights learning journey.

As we say hello to December, we are stacking our books for the winter ahead, and we have two memoirs at the tops of our piles that you’ve probably heard us talking about—disability rights activist Judith Heumann’s Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist and the young readers’ edition, Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution.

Facing History has chosen Heumann’s memoirs for our All-Community Read, and we’re hosting a series of events during the year, including next week’s educator workshop and a virtual “field trip” with Heumann that you and your students can attend right from your classrooms on March 1, 2023!

Heumann’s story sheds light on the disability rights movement, a civil rights movement that is rarely taught in schools. She has co-led this movement for equity of access to housing, health care, and education since she was a young educator denied a teaching license in New York City. Both versions are the kinds of books you read and immediately want to start talking about with a friend.

Whether you’ve already gotten started teaching one of these books, or if you’re still in the planning stages, read on to see some resources we recommend to support you and your school if you would like to join us on our disability rights learning journey.

Getting Started

Get a one-hour intro to these texts and some more tools and tactics for helping bring them into the classroom with our on-demand webinar, Introducing Judy Heumann’s Being Heumann and Rolling Warrior.

Use our Whole School Read Planning Guide to help you and your colleagues design and implement a whole-school read that centers students’ voices and experiences and builds community around a shared text. Don’t miss the discussion handouts at the end of the guide!

Read Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally By: Emily Ladau. This is is just one of a number of books to read to get more insight on how to better understand and center the voices and experiences of people with disabilities as you design lessons and conversations related to this All Community Read.

Going Deeper

Explore the Concept of Identity with this informational text, which you can use to supplement Judy Heumann’s memoir. It introduces students to the relationship between social identity (for example, race, social class, gender, ability, age) and personal identity. We also have an adapted version of this reading designed for English Learners and readers who benefit from scaffolding.

Use the Social Identity Wheel graphic organizer after reading Exploring the Concept of Identity, to help students process what they have read and apply it to their own lives.

And, if you haven’t watched it already, check out 2020 Sundance Documentary winner, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. With primary footage of many events that Heumann recounts, the film helps to bring her story to life for readers. Plus, you can watch with students with a one-time educational screenings of this powerful and important film via Netflix. 

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