Victor Pineda


“My mom named me Victor for Victory. She said everyone was competing for what my name should be…so she started meditating and decided she wanted me to be able to conquer any obstacle that life would throw. Life has thrown many obstacles. I have something that is probably the result of polio. It made my muscles weak and I stopped walking when I was 5. Then the schools wouldn’t accept a kid who had difficulty walking. They told my mom to keep me at home and away from the public. My mom rejected those approaches, we moved to the United States, I did really well in school, and then I got a PHD at UC Berkeley and started teaching.”


“My thing is human rights and city planning. How do you make a city reflect ideas of human dignity? One important thing is accessibility. Can people that are different enjoy the bus, parks, get to work? Now we’re seeing 150 countries sign laws . This year I’ve been to 12 countries promoting disability rights. I’ve gone on to develop all sorts of important projects like an international human rights treaty that was passed by the UN. It protects the rights of people with disabilities on a global level. There’s that voice that says ‘you should be doing something to make the world better’ and every time I follow that voice I feel like it makes people happy…and that makes me happy.”


“My last trip was to Peru and I was worried because it’s so high. It’s like 12,000 ft. I have difficulty breathing but I was like okay…I’m going to chew some cocoa leaves, drink some cocoa tea…and deal with it. I also did Burning Man this year. It was intense! 60mph dust storms. I connected with myself and did my own burn. It was challenging…but great. The desert calls upon you to find peace. I went deep inside and found that place.”

“You rock Victor.”

“Some of us rock. Some of us roll. I rock and roll.”


December 14, 2015