On Wednesday, residents in Northern Virginia observed International Albinism Awareness Day. They joined the global fight against physical and verbal attacks on people with the disorder.
Qiyamah Muhammad shared her experience of dealing with albinism, an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and eyes.
“People didn’t understand why my eyes moved back and forth or why my parents were black and I was white quote on quote,” she said.
Muhammad says her journey became easier with the support of her family and the nation of Islam. In 2015, she created C.A.B.S, or Confident Albino Brothers and Sisters, to help people navigate through the path of living with albinism.
According to the National Organization for Albinism, it’s a genetic disorder affecting only 1 in 18,000 people. But it’s a condition that affects people all over the world, like Wil Alveno who is originally from El Salvador.
“I grew up in a family where I was the only one with albinism. It’s very difficult for everybody because you do look different. And when you’re in a place like Central America you are definitely different from everybody else,” he said. “I really would l just ike people to just give me the same chance and opportunity they give other people. Because I am not different from anyone else.”