I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.
Ginsburg, also known as RBG, meant a lot to me... without even involving politics. She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to work hard to get there.
I dream of changing the world. I dream of being the person to break down the stereotypes around children and adults with autism. I dream of a world where those individuals are look at for who they are, not what their diagnosis is.
I dream of a world where mental health services are easily accessible to everyone so that no one has to struggle through life feeling like they're in a haze or misunderstood.
The thing is, though, people have been trying to break down these barriers for years without much success.
Because of RBG, though, I know I can do it. Her success at breaking down her own barriers and breaking her own ceilings is what inspired me to pursue this path, no matter how difficult it may be.
I want to rewrite students' narratives, challenge the stories that we tell about certain "types" of students and continue to be their advocate day in and day out because we can't say, "oh, someone else will do it."
RBG didn't take the chance that someone else would do it. She took a chance on herself to prove it, just like I'm taking a chance on myself to prove it.
If RBG didn't take the chances she did when she did, who knows where we would be right now. When we're passionate about something, we have to take a stand, we can't stay silent on the sidelines hoping someone else puts in the work because there's no guarantee that someone else will.
We have to stand up, speak up and channel our inner RBG because what's right isn't always what's easy, but if she taught me, and the rest of us one thing, even if you never agreed with her politics, it's that when you have a cause you're passionate about: stand up and speak up.