Jose Miguel “Miggy” Antonio
In 2003, Miggy was born in Dumaguete City, Philippines, alongside his twin brother, Marcky. They both inherited Hemophilia, a rare genetic disorder carried by females and manifested mostly in males, which severely reduces the ability of the blood to clot naturally. With limited healthcare in a developing country, the first ten years of their childhood subjected them to a sedentary lifestyle. This experience, nevertheless, shaped Miggy’s values of courage, perseverance, determination, excellence and a deep appreciation and zest for life. Six years ago and a little after he turned 10, Miggy’s mom was admitted for graduate studies at Harvard Kennedy School so their family relocated to Boston. In preparation for the big move, his two hemophiliac uncles taught him how to inject himself. Living in the United States was a turning point for Miggy and his brother, as it opened the doors to the limitless possibilities that adequate medical care can provide. They walked, jumped and ran for the first time. They also learned how to play musical instruments, bike and play sports- Miggy is a member of the Varsity Rowing team while Marcky is Team Captain for the fencing team. Both their teams have been state champions in the past 2 years. Despite these blessings, Miggy will never forget what his life was like in the Philippines and while grateful for his good fortune here, is deeply committed to giving back. Such commitment has developed in him a passion for public service. Miggy has seen the inability of government to provide its citizens with adequate healthcare. He has seen his parents, alongside local advocacy groups, successfully campaign against the reclamation of his hometown’s seaport when his mom was an elected public official and his dad, the leader of a non governmental organization. Living in Boston for the past 6 years has also shown him how a more efficient government system can better people’s lives, yet, still remain severely challenged. From both countries’ contexts, Miggy has been exposed to best practices and challenges of government and government service, and the realization that governments in both developed and developing worlds just cannot simply do it alone. Citizen engagement and participation in the democratic processes is important and good leadership of institutions are crucial to keeping society alive. From the current political climate to the state of some of the world’s developing countries being affected by COVID-19, Miggy believes that the best way to make a difference in the world is through public service. He believes that the Ward Fellowship is a unique opportunity for him to gain an in-depth experience in local government and deeper insights into what government leaders do to help their communities and learn best practices of balancing freedom and order. The skills that he will obtain from working alongside those in the service will be very valuable in shaping what he plans to do in the future. Miggy hopes to return to the Philippines and work towards greater accessibility of medicine for children, who like him, are suffering from Hemophilia.
Miggy’s sponsor is Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu.