NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Chris Miller, a young man with autism, didn’t have it easy.
“When Chris was 12, Chris attempted suicide because of bullying in middle school,” said Crystal, his mother.
As Chris recovered at Vanderbilt, Crystal said her son chose to face hate head-on. “He says, ‘I’m going to create a superhero that’s going to help kids like me.’ That’s when he created Captain Spectrum.”
The character changed the community, encouraging those with autism to be brave and reminding people to be kind to those with disabilities. Chris went on to take classes at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Paris, TN.
Unfortunately, the bullying continued. “I had to call the police to TCAT because they set his mask on fire,” said Crystal.
In February 2021, Chris was in the back of a pick-up putting trash into a dumpster on campus when the driver gunned the vehicle. Chris fell off the back, fractured his skull, and later died.
“He had so much more to give to the world,” Crystal said.
“There are 1000’s of kids with autism who are bullied,” explained Babs Tierno, Executive Director of Autism Tennessee.
Tierno said the Captain Spectrum’s Be Kind Scholarship is meant to encourage individuals to be brave. “The eligibility is for a teen or adult on the spectrum who’s looking to, or currently enrolled in, some post-secondary experience. We want to take those individuals and lift them up.”
Just as Captain Spectrum wished for himself and others like him.
“My son has such a good heart. I’d like to think that he got some of that from me, and I want to continue his legacy,” said Crystal.
To apply for the scholarship, click here. Submissions are due by October 23.
Prosecutors have filed homicide charges against the driver of the pickup. He is expected back in court in December.