Joshua Cooper '20

“I can, I will. Watch me.” - Seton Hall Law 3L Receives Recognition from Muscular Dystrophy Association

"I can, I will. Watch me."

Words that Joshua Copper '20 has lived by since he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at just 18-months-old. Although he was "given a body that doesn’t work the way I wanted it to," Cooper remains steadfast in serving as an activist in and out of the classroom - and especially for those living with disabilities.

In November 2019, Cooper was awarded the Russ Salzberg Champion of Spirit Award at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) New York Muscle Team 23rd Annual Gala. The Gala joins together professional athletes with business executives “to put their muscles behind the search to fund innovative research and care to find treatments and cures for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases.” The Gala recognizes community members such as Cooper who pursue their dreams despite physical setbacks. The award not only represented his involvement with the MDA since he became a Goodwill Ambassador in the late 90s, but also his commitment to further a dialogue for the community he has been part of nearly all his life.

"It was absolutely incredible to be honored by the MDA," expresses Cooper, "especially in front of local sports idols and celebrities."

Upon his anticipated graduation from Seton Hall Law this coming May, Cooper intends to "open up a conversation with those who don't understand or are not exposed to disability" by pursuing a career as a trial attorney. Cooper anticipates using his law degree to bring more awareness and further advocate for the community he has been part of nearly all his life.

In his acceptance speech before an audience of 700, Cooper shared the power of positive thinking. "When your only option is to be strong when you are faced with adversity and an overwhelming challenge, will yourself to be stronger than whatever it is that is against you." Instead of asking, "why me," Cooper instead shifts his mindset to, "why not me?"

"My gift has fueled my desire to pursue a career in law bringing awareness and advocating for those who cannot."