Alex believes that change begins with words and that communication can overcome any obstacles.
Alex immigrated to the United States from Medellin, Colombia at age four. A birth defect had rendered him a triple amputee and the U.S. offered the opportunity to go to school and receive prosthetics – for both arms and his right leg – through the Shriners Hospitals. But Alex saw that in San Diego in 1980, students with disabilities were kept on separate campuses. Thus began a life of advocacy and educating others – including convincing the school district that kids with physical disabilities deserved to be on regular-curriculum campuses.
This fostered a lifetime of learning. He was not only in the first group of students main-streamed to regular-education classes, he tested as mentally gifted by the third grade. A lifelong love of books, public speaking, and writing led him to be selected by peers as Most Likely to Succeed at San Diego High School – which had a renowned writing academy. This led to a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a Bachelor of Communications in 1996.
His love of communication and community advocacy has rung true in a career where he has worked for the San Diego Padres, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Access Center (now Access II Independence) – a disability rights organization. In 2008 he published his first book, Swinging for the Fences, a memoir about his immigrant and disability journey. He has authored or ghost-written a total of eight books and runs both a motivational communications company and charitable foundation – educating others on immigrant and disability narratives – in his free time.
Alex is passionate and if you catch him walking in his beloved neighborhood of East Village, start chatting about sports, music, movies, or politics. It won’t be a one-way conversation!