Mayra Puma

Mayra Puma

I’m with my uncle Julio, who is hugging me. We are smiling at the camera. I’m wearing my multicolored Ecuadorian clothes. He’s wearing a shirt with a pink tie and dress pants and has a rosary around his neck.

My name is Mayra A. Puma. I’m 32 years old. I’m Hispanic, from Chicago, with parents from South America, Ecuador.

My first wheelchair was black and white and had square; my second wheelchair was blue with feet straps and it was a manual.

There’s a lot of accommodations by having the ADA, for example automatic doos that opens and closes by itself. Accessible housing and transportation. I’m talking about CTA, trains, METRA. Now there’s accessible vans. When I was growing up there wasn’t accessible vans for people in wheelchairs.

Access Living is a center for people with disabilities. It has different support groups that they offer people. I started going to Access Living in 2005 when I was a junior. I was going though bullying in high school. One day I came home from school crying, thinking about killing myself. When I got home my brother picked me up from school bus and saw me crying. He asked me what’s was wrong. I told him nothing.

I got inside the house. As he took off my shoes and braces from my feet, I grabbed a knife and was about to kill myself. My younger brother saved me from killing myself.

Two and a half weeks after happened, I joined Access Living.

The first group that I joined was the Empowered Fefes. I have been in the Empowered Fefes for 15 years. The second group that I joined was Advance Your Leadership Power. I've been in that group 7 years. The final group that I joined was ADAPT. I have been in ADAPT for 4 years.

"Civil rights are not given. You must fight to get them, then, fight to keep them."

Facebook: Mayra Alexandra Puma Alvarado