"Someday, far in the future, people will remember the struggles of deaf people fighting a world of ignorance and equate them to the likes of the great battles for civil rights, and against slavery." — Gianni Manganelli
The fight continues, friend.
Some time ago there was once a boy who commenced to Irvine from his home in Santa Monica so he could attend University High School where I also attended high school. An awesome friend and a good person to have around. His name was Gianni ‘Gio’ Thomas Manganelli, and he was a furcifer. There were so many laughs.
One clear memory of knowing him was summer 2002, when he was my best friend’s first crush and he asked her to be his 99% girlfriend at the end of the week. Shrugged when she asked Gianni what the other 1% was for. We were so young that summer, talking about what we wanted to do when we grew up. Everything was still possible. We never knew that in high school, years later and now eight years ago, we’d achieve a dream together after four years of hard work and lots of fun. And that it would be the best thing ever. But I never expected this.
There are very few things that will defeat the feeling of looking at your best friend and teammate seconds after winning first place and just knowing it was something you both worked for for four whole years. He was so proud, and I couldn’t be more prouder to hail from University High School that moment. And to be sitting next to him there, on the stage. That’s what I will forever remember.
On the days I smile, it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how I could have been a better friend. Looking back, I never asked, or offered a hug. Like many others, I assumed he was fine and wouldn’t need help. I can only learn from that. It will always hurt, and there will always be a blank where his life could have been. Regardless, I am okay and things
Please reach out to those around you, even if it doesn’t seem like they need it. <3 You are stronger than you think. Requiescat in pace, furcifer.