DIVA DISH! JUMAANE WILLIAMS DISCUSSES TOURETTE SYNDROME
By Maureen Martin
June 4, 2020 | Dish!
Jumaane Williams talks about Tourette’s syndrome and the Tourette Association of America.
Since being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD as a child, Williams has spoken publicly about his Tourette’s Syndrome and hopes he can inspire others diagnosed with the disorder to not let it hold them back.
In his public advocate victory speech, Williams told a story about a young man with the syndrome who had come up to him after he lost the lieutenant governor primary.
“A young man, as I was leaving outside, came up to me, six months ago at this very site, and said that just like me, he had Tourette’s Syndrome. That he wanted to get into government to make a change, but that he didn’t know if he could. That when he saw me, he was inspired,” Williams said. “And when I heard him, so was I. It’s part of what inspired me to take this journey, to run this race. Because everyone has moments when they don’t feel heard when they need a voice.”
Video of Jumaane
: Jumaane Williams Keynote Address at the 2019 Tourette Association Gala
What you can do… May 15-June 15 is Tourette Awareness Month and The Tourette Association of America is asking people to take a pledge to not use Tourette Syndrome as a punchline, descriptor or slur. Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, impacting an estimated 1 million Americans, characterized by sudden, involuntary movements and/or sounds called tics. 50% of individuals impacted are going undiagnosed due to the lack of awareness, lack of general understanding about the condition and stigma. The misunderstandings often lead to misdiagnosis, alienation, and bullying.
In response to these uncertain times, the TAA has launched feel-good initiatives and comprehensive virtual events to keep the community engaged. Those impacted by the condition have been experiencing heightened symptoms like coughing, sniffling, and throat clearing tics, as well as extreme anxiety, OCD, depression, and other co-occurring conditions. These symptoms may be crippling, hindering the ability to fulfill basic needs. In addition, social distancing has heightened mental illness, tics, and co-occurring conditions for the community. These virtual events bring our community to the forefront during the COVID-19 era, helping to create a more universal understanding of the challenges faced each day, as well as to share successes:
The TAA has designed a virtual quilt to showcase the Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorder community, entwined with stories of inspiration, hope, and community. This virtual quilt is a narrative of the unique experiences and stories to embrace and comfort one another. TS may impact everyone differently, but we are all woven together in the community. It symbolizes their resilience, resourcefulness, and optimism.
TAA is asking people to take a pledge to not use Tourette Syndrome as a punchline, descriptor or slur. This effort serves to raise understanding and acceptance for TS and Tic Disorders, as well as highlights the progress we have made as a community.
Miles for Tourette May 15-June 15: Participants can virtually walk, run, and cycle to raise funds and awareness for TS. Tourette Awareness Month that supports the TAA’s mission to make life better for all people affected by Tourette syndrome and Tic Disorders. Each week will feature fun and exciting initiatives. Funds raised will benefit research, support necessary programs, and foster social acceptance of Tourette.