Melissa Harris-Perry | December 02, 2012
>>> this is the story of a young woman named ashlee from lafitte, louisiana . she was taking classes at the junior college . she middle-agajor in sociology. she earned a master's degree. there was one clear choice for the field she wanted to study. a program at uic, the university of illinois and chicago. she applied but didn't give in. she called and talked to them about the weaknesses in her application. she took the admission test three more times until she sufficiently improved her score. so she headed off to chicago to pu pursue her dream of becoming a professor. right? no. she has cerebral palsy . she requires the assistance of personal cay attendants. though they are supplied in louisiana through a new waiver, it's one of the most extensive services in the country and it makes a difference. it helps ashley to be the young woman she is today. but the state of louisiana refuses to allow ashley to transfer these services with her to illinois where she's been accepted into graduate school . uic agreed to defer her acceptance as she appeals the decision by her home. state. her acceptance is deferred but he dream is not. she applied to the program because they have the nation's premier program. and after finishing her ph.d. she plans to return to louisiana to teach and to start a nonprofit organization to help others living with disabilities. it's a big dream. but given her track record, it's one she can achieve. she's going to need help and needing help doesn't mean she's dependent. in fact, ashley said "independent means having control of one's life. even though there's a lot that i can't do for myself physically, i still have a voice." i wanted to her ashley 's story as a reminder to all of us as we stand on the precipices of fiscal cliff, the help that we provide for ashley is an investment. it creates jobs for her health care workers. it benefits our national system of education by ensuring that someone with her skills and determination has a chance to teach and it combats stigma. here we are rooting for ashley because we know that once she earns that ph.d. she's going to make some serious contributions.