Who was Engracia Figueroa? Wiki, Biography, Age, Family, Disability Activist, Cause of Death

Engracia Figueroa
Engracia Figueroa

Engracia Figueroa Biography – Wiki

Engracia Figueroa was a disability activist who died after highlighting the need for the rights of people with disabilities in air travel. Figueroa’s death came months after her wheelchair was “destroyed” on a United Airlines flight, advocates said. She spent the last few weeks of hers highlighting the problems of air travel for people with disabilities, an extension of her long fight for the rights of people with disabilities.


Engracia Figueroa has died at the age of 51-years-old.

Figueroa Shared a Series of Videos on Facebook

Figueroa shared videos on his Facebook page on July 14, 2021, saying that his personalized wheelchair had been destroyed on a United Airlines flight.

“United Airlines screwed up my wheelchair,” she said in the first video from the airport in her hometown of Los Angeles. “I totally broke it. F ***** it up, and I’m sitting here stuck because my wheelchair is screwed up. I can’t move anywhere. I can’t do shit. ”

Figueroa turns the camera from herself to a wheelchair on the floor.

“That’s my wheelchair, dead as shit,” she said.

She accused the airline of “cramming everything” “because that’s how they make money.”

She shared another video about two hours later and said that she was “exhausted” and that she had been awake since 3 a.m.

“United didn’t even say, ‘Do you want a glass of water?'” She said.

She later added that she was given a $ 40 food coupon after telling staff that she was hungry.

About 45 minutes later, she started another video of her wiping her face. She said that she had been in Los Angeles for hours.

“How is it that we constantly fight for the independence and liberation of people with disabilities?” she said.

Figueroa Had a Dream to Build a Career in Acting

In addition to her fight for the rights of people with disabilities, Figueroa was also passionate about the fight for animal rights, says her profile of Communities that Live Actively, Independently and Free (CALIF).

“She is actively pursuing the dreams of acting together with animal rights and food justice for all beings, but her own personal life has been the catalyst for the participation and advocacy of the disabled community,” says her profile from CALIF of her. “She is a fan of Bay Area sports (Athletics, Giants, and Raiders), she loves to surf, shop, go to restaurants, everything related to the arts, travel and cook vegan food and try to ‘veganize’ recipes”.

She was the youngest of six children and a native of the Bay Area, her profile says.

The nonprofit Hand in Hand described her as “a fierce advocate for people with disabilities.”

Madelaine Reis, a fellow activist, and friend of hers told USA Today that Figueroa was “scared and exhausted” after her hospitalization.

“She was a little exhausted because she had to do it, like many disability activists, they are defending her own rights and needs, so she was tired but she kept fighting,” Reis told USA Today.

Disabled at Age 22 in an Accident

Figueroa said on his Facebook page that his wheelchair was destroyed the day before the 30th anniversary of the accident that caused his disability. Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF), an independent living center and nonprofit organization, said she was disabled in an accident at age 22.

“She has worked in the insurance industry from high school until she became disabled in a sudden accident at the age of 22. Learning to adjust to the novelty of being a disabled woman became her new normal in life,” says your CALIF profile.

Figueroa said in her video that the destruction of her wheelchair caused her to “become disabled again” and “disabled again.”

Figueroa was president of the board and secretary of CALIF, according to her profile. She became a member of the board in October 2017.

Figueroa Was Returning Home From a Disability

Figueroa was flying home the day her wheelchair was damaged after representing Hand in Hand in Washington, DC to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, an article by the organization said.

“Last July, Engracia represented Hand in Hand in Washington DC at the Care Can’t-Wait Rally and Communities of a Care art installation to demand that Congress invest in our broken home care system. She spoke with her friend and homecare worker Christine Laing about the need to increase salaries for homecare workers and ensure high-quality, reliable support for all. Together they advocated for making home care jobs good, both to enable workers to provide for their families and to address the widespread labor shortage, which often leads to the forced institutionalization of people with disabilities and older adults. ” says the article.

The incident sparked a widespread petition calling for better services for people with disabilities on flights.

“We demand that United Airlines end the damage to wheelchairs and assistive devices on its flights and create an accessible process for people with disabilities to travel in safety and dignity,” Hand in Hand wrote.

The petition says airlines damage or destroys 29 wheelchairs every day.

Cause of Death

United Airlines provided Figueroa with a new wheelchair, but she had used a borrowed wheelchair for months that was no match for her custom wheelchair, according to Hand in Hand.

“We were saddened to hear of Ms. Figueroa’s passing and offer our condolences to her friends and family,” United Airlines said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Figueroa, 51, died on Sunday, October 31, 2021, two weeks after being admitted to the intensive care unit for an infected skin ulcer and gastrointestinal problems, the news outlet reported. She was a Los Angeles-based disability rights activist, an aspiring actress, and an animal rights activist says her Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF) profile.

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Hand in hand: The Domestic Employers Network wrote that Figueroa’s death was caused by injuries he sustained without his wheelchair. The article explained that his wheelchair “was custom designed to withstand the spinal cord injury and amputation of his left leg.”

“Engracia’s wheelchair was fundamental to her independence, as well as essential to maintaining his health,” the article adds.

Hand in Hand reported that she developed a pressure ulcer while sitting in a broken wheelchair at the airport and “experienced severe pain” after returning home. She was admitted to the hospital, the article says.

The article said the airline said they would repair her wheelchair, but provided her with a loan that “aggravated her injuries.”

Hand in Hand wrote:

Ultimately, United Airlines agreed to fully replace Engracia’s chair valued at $30,000. However, the months in which they fought against the replacement took a toll on her body.

While fighting with United to replace her chair, Engracia was forced to use a loaner chair that was not properly fitted to Engracia’s body. This further exacerbated her pressure sore and cause muscle spasms, severe edema, and an inability to eat, as well as two additional hospitalizations. The sore became infected and the infection eventually reached her hip bone, requiring emergency surgery to remove the infected bone and tissue. Engracia passed away in the morning on Sunday, October 31st, 2021.

All of us at Hand in Hand are heartbroken, shocked, and enraged by Engracia’s needless death. This loss should never have happened. While we are reeling from the layers of injustice this tragedy makes visible, we are holding Engracia’s tenacity and resolve as our guidepost. Lives are at stake in the work that we do, and our current ableist and racist system continue to fail our communities time and time again. We cannot and will not stand by and let these systems of oppression prevail.


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