What has been your biggest life obstacle?
I am deaf, I do not read lips, and I was bullied because I use my hands to communicate through sign language.
How did you overcome bullying?
I stand up for myself and remember to love me! I know that there is nothing wrong with me. God made me this way for a reason. He chose me so I am grateful.
How are you making a difference?
There are no clubs for students to learn American sign language like there is Spanish, German, and Latin. I don’t understand why. I believe American sign language is a beautiful artistic language and it should be taught in schools. I decided to gather friends who are open-minded and I began teaching a class on American sign language in my community. They really enjoyed it so from then on out when I was bullied they stood up for me. I believe this has opened people’s eyes to the deaf community. I believe this has made my school and my community a better place.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered not because I am disabled, but how I have turned my situation in to a positive one. There is nothing wrong with people who are deaf. There needs to be more attention on the deaf community and I hope I can help be part of that change. I am confident in who I am and I have turned my obstacles in to motivation. My best advice for others is to be proud of who you are.
“The problem is not that (deaf) students do not listen, but that the hearing world does not listen.”
– The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, American Civil Rights Activist, Minister