Talila Lewis

Talila Lewis profile picture

Talila Lewis

Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf

We are proud to induct Talila Lewis into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Talila A. Lewis is an attorney-activist who engineers & leads innovative and intersectional social justice campaigns that illuminate and address grave injustices within our legal system that have gone unaddressed for decades.

Talila’s advocacy primarily focuses on creating equal access to the legal system for people with disabilities & deaf people. As one of the only people in the world working on deaf wrongful conviction cases, Talila regularly presents at universities; testifies before legislative & regulatory bodies; and trains members of congress, attorneys, and law enforcement about this and other disability-related topics. As the creator of the only national deaf prisoner database, Talila advocates with & for hundreds of deaf defendants, incarcerated & returned individuals.

Talila co-founded & serves as the volunteer director of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD), an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that works to correct & prevent deaf wrongful convictions; end abuse of incarcerated people with disabilities; decrease recidivism for deaf incarcerated and returning individuals; and increase representation of disabled people in professions that can combat mass incarceration.

Talila serves as a consultant and expert on cases involving deaf/disabled people, and served as a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Talila has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the American Association for People with Disabilities, the Nation Institute, and EBONY Magazine, among others.