Excerpt from Disability Rights Oregon Video Project

It’s been a passion of mine that people with disabilities have a say in the way they are able to experience the world. For too long, we have been expected to be passive observers of life.

I have been silent for 13 years, and my voice – my life – have become the advocacy I needed. Now that I’m able to communicate, I can’t stop raising the topics near and dear to me, like presuming competence and allowing people with disabilities to be active participants in the decisions that affect their futures.

I remember standing on the corner of a busy NYC street and thinking how close I came to missing that beautiful frenetic that lives in that amazing city. That energy lives inside me too! I want to travel the world and see everything it has to offer. That [Odd Fellows] trip made me realize that with the right supports, anyone can experience that vibe too.

In the future, I want to do everything anyone else wants: to go to college, get a girlfriend, have a job, go to a bar for fun, and live in my own apartment. It’s going to look a little different, and I’ll need support in getting there, but I know I will some day.


Oregonian Newsmaker of the Year Contest

My hope is that something will change in the area of autism awareness in Portland. That I’m done with the Odd Fellows contest, but there continues to be publicity from it, is mindboggling. I’m hopeful that it stays positive and changes what people think about autism.