Having spinal muscular atrophy means that I’ve never been able to walk. I’ve used a wheelchair since I was about 3 years old. I rely on help from others for many parts of my day — bathing, getting dressed, making my meals and just generally getting around.
I still try to be independent however I can. Growing up, I went to public school and took classes with my peers. I lived in the dorms with the rest of the students in college. I work as a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh and am pursuing my master’s degree in public health.
“If we know that xenophobia and Islamophobia and vilification of marginalized and minority communities is less of an issue in America, then people will feel safer. If we know that that’s not the case and we are not moving towards that, then people don’t feel safe.”
Francisco's 23-year-old son had gone out the night before and never returned home. The following day, Francisco's neighbor came knocking on his door to inform him that Manuel had been killed and his body was laying on the side of a road nearby.
To put in perspective how widespread mental health conditions are, consider this: About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Mental illness will affect one in five Americans at some point during their lifetime.