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Rising Stars: Meet Gabrielle Harris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Harris.

Hi Gabrielle, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born with cerebral palsy at one pound and 13 oz. I’ve had numerous surgeries throughout my life. For several years I would watch the movie Forrest Gump every day, that movie inspired me to learn how to walk. In 4th grade, my English teacher told me she would teach me how to walk. We did this every day for five days; on the 5th day, I took off walking and has been walking ever since. At the age of 17, I had my final foot surgery, that included the insertion of screws in my feet; during the surgery, the hospital called a code blue on me twice, after this surgery, it was at that moment I know that God has me here for a purpose and there must be a calling on my life. My purpose is to inspire people with my testimony. God revealed to me at 21 that others need to hear my story and that I needed to be a voice for other individuals that were disabled and for those that may be struggling with finding their purpose. I am determined to break barriers and also help others that have disabilities. Acting has been my passion. I want to be the ambassador for others just like me. I currently take acting classes and I’m an advocate for special needs children as well.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has not always been easy. As I began to reach out to people to see if I could share my story with their youth or if they thought it would be a good idea for me to speak at various events that consisted of special needs, I was told NO. In the beginning, my faith began to waiver because I started questioning and doubting was this really my purpose, and do the people really want to hear something pertaining to disabled individuals being left out or mistreated because they were not what society considered normal.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Currently, I work for an organization called TO BE LIKE ME out of Dallas, TX, the organization empowers people with disabilities employment and a platform to share our individual stories and advocate for others. Once an individual experience this program, it helps them to have a better understanding and appreciation for individuals with the differences such as myself. It will impact their future interactions spread empathy and create a more collaborative and inclusive environment.

Apart from TO BE LIKE ME, I also work with special need adults and children with the POTTERS HOUSE IDD Outreach program called Minds, Hearts & Hands. This is very dear to me; I am blessed and grateful that I was asked to be a part of this organization.

Currently, I am also in acting school. I started attending Richard Lawson Studios in Los Angeles, CA June of 2021. Acting has always been a passion for me. I took acting throughout high school from 9th through 12th grade. After High School acting was on the backburner. During Covid, I realized that it was something that I needed to refocus on and get serious about it. I have done an infomercial and one short film which will be coming out soon, I’m excited to share this with everyone.

I believe what sets me apart from others is that although I was born with a disability and have issues, I’ve never complained nor asked for sympathy. I have a mindset that I am just as normal as the next person and I am unique and never allow my disability to get me down.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
California is very diverse and the people there are very friendly. The beaches and the weather are also a plus for me.

What I don’t like is the traffic is worse than Dallas – Fort Worth, it seems that it took over an hour to get to a 30-minute location, If I lived there, I would probably use public transportation more so than drive.

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