I’ve been holding back many feelings since the shooting massacre that occurred killing 50 people and leaving countless injured on Sunday, June 12th in Orlando, Fla. Feelings of disgust, sadness, hurt, and worry about my loved ones. As my social media feed blew up with statuses alerting me of what had happened it made me ill. #PrayForOrlando became stuck in the back of my head for days. Another thought that was circulating in my head was “why can’t we just love each other for exactly who we are in this world?”

Later that night I sat down to watch the Tony Awards hoping to take my mind off all the thoughts that ran through my head. James Corden who was hosting the show started the night with a beautiful tribute to the victims in the shooting. The one moment that blew me away though was when Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda went on stage to accept the Tony Awards for Best Score. Instead of “free-styling” as he joked he instead decided to read a sonnet addressing the love for his wife Vanessa and the shooting massacre earlier from the day.

It was beautiful. But the part that hit me the most was when he read…

“We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

What a powerful statement I thought to myself. This man with this beautiful tribute reminded me of something I used to say in several of my talks that love is love in this world. Love has no age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexuality.

This reminder from Miranda has made me understand that, whenever I give a talk in the future, I want to continue to remind myself to say those three words to the audience. There is so much hate, so much ignorance, and so little acceptance out there. I knew countless times where I didn’t feel accepted as a child due to my disability. But now as an adult, I’ve been given an amazing gift to educate our communities and to hopefully make the world a more diverse place to live in.

Love has played a pivotal part in my life. I can tell you today that our families show unconditional love to our children, with and without special needs every single day.

So from now on the quote ‘love is love’ will be what I circle my presence on. Miranda was open enough to spread such a powerful message and now I’m going to continue to remind myself to do the same.