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2016 Democratic National Convention
Speech by Anastasia Somoza

July 25, 2016

Anastasia Somoza of New York, NY, along with her twin sister, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia when she was born and is an advocate for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Anastasia interned for Hillary Clinton in her U.S. Senate office and on the 2000 campaign for senate.

I first met Hillary as First Lady on a visit to the White House.

I was nine years old and I listened to her and my mom discuss health care and early intervention for children with disabilities.

She has continued to serve…over the past 23 years, she has continued to serve as a friend and mentor, championing my inclusion and access to classrooms, higher education and the workforce.

She has never lost touch with people like me. She has invested in me. She believes in me.

And in a country where 56 million Americans with disabilities so often feel invisible, Hillary Clinton sees me.

She sees me as a strong woman, a young professional, a hard worker and the proud daughter of immigrants – my father from Nicaragua and my mother from Ireland.

She has shown me that all these aspects of my identity are strengths which will help me affect change.

I fear the day we elect a president who defines being American in the narrowest possible terms, who shouts, bullies and profits off of the vulnerable Americans.

Donald Trump has shown us who he really is, and I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart.

I know we must show each other and the world who we really are in November when we choose genuine strength and thoughtful leadership over fear and division.

Donald Trump doesn’t see me. He doesn’t hear me. And he definitely doesn’t speak for me.

I am confident that as our president Hillary will do everything in her power to promote the rights, empowerment, and humanity of all Americans.

She knows that when we support access to education and employment opportunities for absolutely everyone, more of us will be able to live happy, independent lives, and to promote, build, and contribute to this great country.

As president, Hillary Clinton will continue fighting and inspiring us all with her brave vision and tireless efforts on our behalf.

On the eve of the 26th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, I’m proud to be with you, Hillary.

Thank you for showing me how to live boldly with a courageous heart.