Maddie Conway

Why I Am Joining The March: Eight years ago, I had the incredible honor of quickly meeting President Obama during his presidential campaign in 2008. As you can see from this photo, I was very happy to have my picture taken with him too. At the time, I was a 14-year-old girl in Middle School. Middle School certainly wasn’t the happiest time in my life.

It was a time when I felt lonely, and I know I’m not the only one.  In addition, I have a physical disability and use a wheelchair. At the time, I just wanted to “fit in” with everyone else, especially during some points when I didn’t feel included by my peers.

During this time, I was in need of some hope, and President Obama was one of the people who provided me with that. As I listened and watched him speak during his campaign that day, I was inspired by his “Yes We Can” slogan in saying that we could make America an even better place for all of us. In many ways, I think we did.

At the end of his speech, Obama spotted me in the crowd, and that’s when this photo was taken. Eventually the picture made its way back to him when he became president. As you can see, not only did he sign it, but he also took the time to write me a few words of encouragement: To Maddie-“Dream Big Dreams,” which continues to inspire me.

Under President Obama, I have continued to not only dream big dreams, but also work towards achieving them. Now, with Trump as President, I fear that as a person with a disability, that could become a bit more challenging for not only me to do, but also the millions of other people living with a disability, or any other minority status, in this country.

However, as President Obama said, we must “Show up. Dive in. And stay at it.” By doing those three things, I hope that we all can continue to “Dream Big Dreams” and achieve them together-no matter what.

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