US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was just seven and a half years of age when diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
During the Opening Plenary Session of the American Academy of Pediatrics in New Orleans, Lousiana, she described her experience with the diagnosis, hospitalization, and the life-changing impact of managing a chronic condition.
Justice Sotomayor told a packed audience of pediatricians that her experience in managing a lifelong chronic health condition taught her about accepting and celebrating the differences of others.
“More than 30 years ago, I was in a restaurant in New York with a friend. I ordered my meal. I got up to go to the restroom to give myself my shot of insulin,” Justice Sotomayor recalled. Feeling part shame of the condition and wanting privacy, Justice Sotomayor retreated to the bathroom to administer an insulin injection. As she was removing the syringe, another woman entered the restroom. Later, as Justice Sotomayor was leaving the restaurant, she overheard the woman say to her friend, “She is the drug addict.”
“I felt shame, and then something happened,” Justice Sotomayor recalled. Shame turned to anger. She described the feeling as a kind of positive control anger.” It is the kind of anger that propels people to speak up when they witness something unjust.”
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