By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
VINELAND – After writing three superhero children books uplifting local kids with disabilities, Trinity Jagdeo doesn’t get to talk about her own superpowers much – the abilities to inspire, create and uplift.
Jagdeo, 19, like many superheroes, is often taking on the world and giving herself to others, a rarity for a person her age. Yet, inspired by her longtime best friend Alexus, who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the 2019 Cumberland Christian graduate has started a nonprofit and hosts her own television show along with her author exploits.
“I don’t necessarily see myself as a role model yet as I believe there is still so much work to do and I am only scratching at the surface,” Jagdeo told Front Runner New Jersey in a recent interview. “I wish and seek to do so much more, even though so many tell me I am a role model, it still hasn’t hit me. I understand many people view me as an inspiration, and I am blessed that I can contribute to people around me in that manner.”
Her life-defining friendship with Alexus started in kindergarten when Jagdeo said she saw where despite her disability, Alexus didn’t let it get in her way.
“It was at that point that I realized that disabilities shouldn’t be picked or pointed out, but they should be normalized,” Jagdeo said. “Throughout our years of friendship, I learned the struggles and specific needs of having a disability. In 2015, Alexus went through a terrifying life or death battle. She was hospitalized for 6 months and while she was admitted, I noticed her lack of motivation.
“As I was visiting her there was a specific day that I noticed that she had watched all the movies along the wall. That day, I realized how the disability community is underrepresented in the entertainment industry. There are no princesses or princes with disabilities or special needs,” she said.
Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
Jagdeo said she made a video and reached out to Disney directors asking them to create princesses and princes with disabilities, but never heard back from any of them.
“The absence of a response from Disney inspired me to take matters into my own hands,” Jagdeo said. “As I watched kids struggle and yearn for representation, I found it important to create characters that embody who they are. Therefore, [the nonprofit] From We Can’t To We Can was born.
From We Can’t To We Can focuses on young people in the disability community, whether its through books or other events with any proceeds raised going to the families with children of abilities in need of assistance.
“To date, I have written three books, each a superhero book inspired by local kids with disabilities and special needs,” Jagdeo said. “Our books are unique as each child as superpowers that they can apply to their lives. For example, our superhero with down syndrome, “Alice the Ace,” has the power of ‘super-hearing.’
“Superpowers such as applicable ones, yields as a learning and inspiring attribute. I also include a Bible verse as a slogan for each hero to serve as a positive additive. All of my books present motivational themes to educate society and inspire the disability community. All of my books can be found on Amazon,” she said.
New Super Heroes
Instead of Iron Man, Thor or Captain America, young people can read about the adventures of “Zappy Zane.” Jagdeo’s latest book has her own group of “Avengers” in “The We Can Squad Saves the Day,” with Brave Brooke, Agent Jake, Agent Jarrett, Kourageous Kange and Angelina the Adventurer.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Jagdeo hosted her own talk show “Spotlights on You with Trinity Jagdeo,” on the streaming platform RVN TV where she highlights stories and guests with disabilities and special needs.
“Additionally, I brought on young entrepreneurs like myself, to get their message out there as well,” Jagdeo said. “Because of the pandemic, I decided to create a virtual series through my organization so that I could help people in the disability community. The ‘At Home Series’ allows people to share their journey with their disability while we donate something to them at the end of the show.”
Jagdeo has also done motivational speeches since high school with her fellow classmates as her first audience.
“I felt as though God was pushing me to send a message out, so I did,” Jagdeo said. “It led to my success in speaking. I have spoken at various high schools, colleges, and clubs. I’ve always spoken out about matters that I strongly believe in. Staying silent has never sat right with me.”
That determination likely came from her mother Angela Morrison, who became one of her first inspirations.
A Mother’s Inspiration
“I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth as my mom strived and sacrificed for the life that I have today,” Jagdeo said. “My father was in and out of my life as he had drug addiction tendencies. For the majority of my life, I grew up with my single mother and younger sister in Gloucester County.
“Because of my mother’s strength and stability, I was able to graduate from Cumberland Christian School in 2019. I recently moved to Cumberland County within the past three years as my mother remarried. I learned the importance of dedication, perseverance, and passion because of my childhood, and I wouldn’t change anything about it,” she continued.
Jagdeo said in the next five years she hopes to grow her nonprofit nationally and speak internationally.
“My hopes in five years would to be on the ‘Ellen’ show, ‘Kelly Clarkson’ show, and ‘The Real,'” Jagdeo. “Though, I am hoping those blessings will come sooner.”
Jagdeo, though, may have her own syndicated show before then, with the use of her own superpowers.
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