My hometown is a small village between Munich and the Alps in Germany. I have been living in Portland, OR for the past three years. I go to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. I am a senior college student double majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and International Affairs. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and many of its associated comorbidities and I am autistic. I am also a white, queer, non-binary person from a financially instable family and the first person to attend college in my family. Inclusion to me is an intersectional movement to create justice by empowering structurally marginalized people in society. Combating ableism and pursuing disability justice means fighting other types of injustices simultaneously for collective liberation. This is my third year working for the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement at my college where we provide resources mostly to BIPOC and/or first-generation students. I am very proud of my work with the office because I get to create community spaces, hold workshops, and work with student organizations. I also have been holding different leadership roles in our Queer Student Union. I established and served as our first head of accessibility to ensure accessibility to our resources and spaces. As the organizer of our weekly trans support group, I create welcoming spaces for disabled trans people to support each other. Because I aspire to be a scientist, I am currently working on my honors senior thesis in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at my college and did a summer internship in bioinformatics at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. Receiving the Heumann-Armstrong Award is such an honor to me. Knowing that there is a whole legacy of disabled people who have collectively been advocating for our access to education is so powerful and empowers me to continue to advocate and fight for disability. I want other students to know that they aren’t alone in their struggle, regardless of how isolated they might feel. For me, integrating intersectional disability justice work into my life has allowed me to start fighting my internalized ableism and to find amazing communities around me so I would encourage other disabled people to do the same.
ID: Luca, a white non-binary person with short brown hair and brown glasses, is standing to the left of the center of the image. They are wearing a yellow button down shirt with a colorful floral pattern and are using forearm crutches. In the background blurry bushes are blooming with pink flowers and a gazebo is surrounded by trees.