“Breaking Bad” actor gives disabled hope at Stark Campus

Everyone has a disability, and everyone has the opportunity to use his or her disability to change the world, a disabled actor and model told an audience at the Kent State Stark Campus Tuesday evening.

RJ Mitte, who has cerebral palsy, overcame his disability and went on to play Walter “Flynn” White Jr. in the critically acclaimed AMC series “Breaking Bad.”

Mitte is the second speaker in Kent State Stark’s 2016-2017 Featured Speakers Series. Max Brooks, an American horror author and writer, spoke at the campus last month.

“I utilize (my disability) and you can too,” Mitte said. “More often than not we forget that and we want to evolve from it, but if you can look at it as an asset and not an illness or something that we need to evolve from instead of evolve with.”

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a a physical disability that affects movement and posture. Mitte was diagnosed with a mild form of CP at three years old, and has undergone numerous treatments including speech, physical and occupational therapy.

Since “Breaking Bad,” Mitte has become an advocate for people with disabilities.

He is an ambassador for the nonprofit organization United Cerebral Palsy, and has appeared in many campaigns such as Kenneth Cole’s “The Courageous Class,” which showcases “determined individuals who confidently overcome life’s challenges to become the inspiring role models they were meant to be.”

“(Disability is) not something we should want to get rid of; It’s something we should want to understand on a greater scale,” Mitte said.

Mitte explained that by having a disability, he was able to better see the world in a way that not everyone gets to see.

“You have the ability to change this world. It doesn’t take a foundation, it doesn’t take an organization, it doesn’t take a Fortune 500 company,” Mitte said. “It can be one person but it has to be a person with determination and not being afraid of stepping out of our own comfort zone.”

People must be able to accept other’s differences and also be able to use their own differences to make an impact, according to Mitte. 

“Don’t be afraid to do what you know is necessary,” Mitte said. “To do what you know is right because you have the ability to change the world.”

Contact Hayley Dillow at [email protected] and Kristin Slomiany at [email protected]