Quadriplegic Gives Speech At Graduation Ceremony

Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via In The News
In The News
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Crystal R. Emery is a producer, author, and filmmaker of socially conscious work. She recently gave a speech at her alma mater UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to 1,500 graduates. The message in Crystal’s speech was one of overcoming obstacles.

Picture of Crystal speaking at UConn graduation ceremony

Crystal says when she began college in 1985 she was considered “able-bodied”. Crystal was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth, a neuromuscular disease, during her school years. She eventually became a quadriplegic and power wheelchair user.

"Throughout my time at UConn, first one leg was braced, then two leg braces, then I had a cane … It’s really hard to see your body change like that.”  

Crystal gives credit to her friends and professors for always encouraging her and not letting her give up on her dreams. In the last three decades, Crystal has produced more than twenty plays and two documentaries such as “Black Women In Medicine” and “The Deadliest Disease In America”.

Crystal told her audience of graduates, “ I say to you, use me as an example of how you can move forward in life. Stay strong, move forward, never stop, never give up, never take a step back ... That’s what I did and that’s what I urge you to do, too.”

Can’t wait to see what project Crystal produces next!

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