When Anastasia Somoza first met Hillary Clinton, she was a brave third-grader speaking out for the rights of people with disabilities. On Monday night, more than 20 years later, she took the Democratic National Convention stage to champion the same cause, advocating for the party to be open and inclusive of all people.
Somoza, who lives with cerebral palsy, got an introduction in the form of a now-notorious clip of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump mocking New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition. In the video, Trump jerks around violently while imitating Kovaleski’s voice. Trump has claimed he wasn’t actually making fun of Kovaleski, and “would never mock a person that has difficulty.”
Somoza wasn’t buying it.
“Donald Trump has shown us who he really is, and I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart,” she said. “Donald Trump doesn’t see me, he doesn’t hear me and he definitely doesn’t think for me.”
“I fear the day when we elect a president who defines being an American in the narrowest possible terms, who shouts, bullies and profits off of vulnerable Americans,” Somoza added.
Somoza noted that she was speaking on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which went into effect on July 26, 1990. She said that over the past two decades, Clinton had proved to her that she’s the best candidate to uphold the core objectives of that legislation.
“[Clinton] has continued to serve as a friend and mentor,” Somoza said. “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.”