Lizzie Velasquez is no stranger to cyberbullying. In fact it’s one of the reasons she’s dedicated her life to turning others’ hate into self-love and positivity.
The Mexican-American motivational speaker and author is one of only a few people in the world who have neonatal progeroid syndrome. The rare condition makes it impossible for Velasquez to weigh more than 64 pounds and has left her blind in one eye.
But all her work spreading love hasn’t stopped bullies from targeting the 27-year-old online for her appearance. Velasquez recently found a photo of her being used in a cruel meme.
And on Sunday, she spoke out against it in a Facebook post.
“I’ve seen a ton of memes like this all over Facebook recently,” Velasquez wrote. “I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice. Yes, it’s very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
Velasquez also took time in her message to remind others that they should focus on love not hate when posting or sharing memes on the Internet.
“No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human,” she wrote. “I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen.”
In March, Valasquez spoke to The Huffington Post about how she’d “never ever forget” the day she found a video online labeling her as “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” She was 17 at the time.