Nine years ago, Wilbert Taylor Jr.’s life changed forever when he was shot in the head and paralyzed. The 19-year-old was on break from Southern Illinois University, and was leaving a party on Chicago’s south side.

The shooting left Taylor in need of a wheelchair, and doctors told him he’d never walk again. Now, he’s preparing to walk across the stage Thursday to accept his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Chicago State University. 

From ABC 7:

“I worked really hard and survived but I still had the will to do the things I had set out to do,” Taylor said. According to Taylor, on the night of July 5, 2005, he was leaving at party in the 9600 block of South. Michigan. He was helping his friend, a DJ, pack up when a car drove by and opened fire. “The bullet actually went in the back of my head and came out in the front,” he said. “I was completely paralyzed on my left side and in a coma.”

Doctors told family members he would not walk again, if he survived. “It was said they had never seen anyone recover from such an injury,” he said. “To learn how to get dressed with one arm and half of my body, it hurt me a lot. Having to depend on someone else was very humbling.”

Read more at ABC 7

No one has been arrested in connection with Taylor’s shooting, which at first made him depressed and angry. But with the help of his family, he was able to let go of the bitterness.

Originally Taylor wanted to be a journalist, but after the shooting he decided to take up law in hopes of making a difference in Chicago and the lives of youth.

“I now want to reach out and help young people,” he said. “I volunteer with the Black Star and I hope my story can stop the violence and help someone else, and let them know if you stay determined you really can do what you want, if you put your mind to it.”


Will you’re an inspiration to us all.

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