To Donald Trump, From a First-Time Voter With a Disability
Dear Mr. Trump,
I want to first take the time to introduce myself, and to give you a little background on where I’m coming from. My name is Brooks Fitts, and I’m a 19-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina.
North Carolina is shaping up to be a battleground state this year, and its electoral votes could make or break a candidate. This upcoming presidential election will be my first time voting, and as I cast my ballot, I will have one very distinct image on my mind. The image of you mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski for his disability, and then refusing to apologize for it.
I was born with cerebral palsy, a disability which makes my hamstrings tight, and causes me to walk with a slight limp. Growing up with cerebral palsy was hard, as I often felt like the outsider and was frequently cast aside because of my differences.
However, I’ve grown to be thankful for my cerebral palsy. Not because it has made it harder to walk, but because it’s helped build my character. In a world where emphasis is too often placed on the physical, my cerebral palsy has taught me it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters.
So when you were up on stage and mocked Mr. Kovaleski for his disability, you mocked me. You not only mocked me, you mocked the nearly 53 million Americans who live with a disability. Americans who make contributions, Americans who love their country, and Americans who will show up to the polls this November.
I am writing this letter to you on behalf of every American who lives with a disability, and requesting an apology. Regardless of whether you apologize for what you did or not, I hope you at least recognize that your actions were wrong. You are running to be the President of every American — those with disabilities, and those without.
I would encourage you to spend a day with someone who lives with a disability. You might just learn something about character, grit, and true determination. More than anything though, it might just make you think twice before you go up on stage and mock us for something we have no control over.
This article originally appeared on BrooksFitts.com.