An emerald miner employed by the US owned Minería Texas Colombia, MTC, walks down a mining shaft in Muzo, on July 24, 2015. MTC is the first foreign investor involved in the trade in Colombia. The search for emeralds comes at a cost. The history is bloodstained. Thoughts of people in the 80s were killed during the Green Wars and today there is a sense of ownership to the land and its riches which foreigners are now profiting from.
Many believe the world's most valuable emeralds come from the mountains of Boyacá, Colombia. Hundreds of people flock to Muzo, department of Boyacá, each year in search of gems, only to discover poverty, hunger and violence.
Carlos Sanchez, front left, and Jose Vicente Ico, front right, dig through mined rubble just outside the Minería Texas Colombia plant with hopes of finding gems in Muzo, Colombia, on July 26, 2015. When MTC was awarded the concession to exploit the main emerald mine in the region it limited the access for informal miners to dig through the castoff soil. The company invested millions in the production, allowing them to filter out more emeralds, but leave fewer scraps.
Most of the residents in the municipality of Muzo work in mining. In May the MTC plant was invaded, workers were beaten and riot police sprayed tear gas leaving one dead. Locals don't see an end to the conflict.
Charles Burgess, Director of Minería Texas Colombia, arrives to the mine in Muzo, Colombia on July 24, 2015. MTC purchased the mine from the legendary emerald czar Victor Carraza in 2013.
Julian Martinez stands by as a mining utility vehicle drives into place inside an emerald mind owned by Minería Texas Colombia in Muzo, Colombia, on July 24, 2015. Miners work on 8-hour shifts on a run of 20 days on followed by 10 days off.
Ore and waste rock are brought to the surface from the Puerto Arturo mine in Muzo, Colombia. The cost of the finest Colombian emeralds can reach USD $10,000 per carat, and even up to USD $50,000 per carat.
Muzo is seen nestled between mountains in department of Boyacá, Colombia, on July 25, 2015. Few countries are as rich in emeralds as Colombia, making it the world’s leading producer, with the majority of global production.
Tatiana Gonzales, 13, does the laundry at her home in Muzo, Colombia, on July 25, 2015. Gonzales' father, like most who live in Muzo, works in the emerald industry.
A crowd gathers around a cockfighting pit in Muzo, Colombia, on July 25, 2015.
Homes of miners are pictured just outside the Minería Texas Colombia plant in Muzo, Colombia on July 24, 2015.
Karen Dicelis serves soup at the community eatery, El Mirador de los Abuelos, during lunch in Muzo, Colombia, on July 24, 2015. El Mirador de los Abuelos is one of the social investments made by Minería Texas Colombia to provide one free meal a day to the elderly.
Just outside the Minería Texas Colombia plant, emerald miners play Tejo, a popular Colombian game where players throw a "tejo" or rock to a target on the opposing side in Muzo, Colombia, on July 24, 2015.
Independent emerald mine laborer, Efrain Sanchez, displays an uncut emerald he found sorting through the dirt and rubble tossed out by Minería Texas Colombia plant in Muzo, Colombia, on July 26, 2015. Apart from the rare chance that they strike big, informal emerald miners usually make between 100,000 to 200,000 pesos a month, about 35-70 dollars.
“Guaqueros,” independent mines laborers dig through a was just outside the Minería Texas Colombia pant in search of emeralds in the municipality of Muzo, department of Boyacá, in Colombia on July 24, 2015.
Cow meat is cooked during a party in the department of Boyacá, Colombia on July 26, 2015.
Informal emerald miner Jose Joaquin Vidal drinks "tinto," coffee, during a break just outside the Minería Texas Colombia plant, in Muzo, Colombia, on July 24, 2015. Vidal said that U.S. presence has formalized the emerald business, making it harder for him to mine emeralds.
Colombian National Police officer Francisco Gomez patrols the area near the Minería Texas Colombia plant in Muzo, Colombia on July 26, 2015. Forero started patrolling the area shortly after the mine was invaded in May 2015.
Lee Wasson, a specialist in Colombian Emeralds sorts through different gems in his office in Bogotá, Colombia. on July 13, 2015.
A security guard keeps watch on the property where Victor Carranza lived while he controlled much of Colombia's emerald business in the department of Boyacá, Colombia on July 24, 2015. In 2013, Minería Texas Colombia purchased the mine once owned by the late Victor Carranza. -- This project was originally commissioned for the Washington Post.
Pregnant woman Paola Andrea Escalante, 17, infected by the Zika virus eats lunch while being attended at the Hospital Universitario Erasmo Meoz in Cúcuta, Colombia, on February 4, 2016. Doctors say Escalante's baby is not infected with the virus.
Jose Molinares Cruz stands at the door of his bedroom in Turbo which he shares with sister, Paula Molinares, 10, who is currently being treated for Guillain-Barre in Montería, Colombia on February 17, 2016. Fears of the Zika virus that is spreading across the Americas have been linked to birth defects, but health experts believe the sudden rise in Guillain-Barre cases may also be connected.
Wilfrido Manuel Molinares crosses a pool of stagnant water to arrive at his home in Turbo, Colombia on February 17, 2016. Molinares' daughter, Paula Molinares, 10, is currently being treated for Guillain-Barre in Montería, a major city in Colombia.
Lilliana Zuñiga Ayarza sits at her home with daughter Isabella Murillo remembering her mother Bellarmina Ayarza Garcia who is one of three recent deaths tied to Guillain-Barre in Colombia on February 16, 2016.
Hospital Francisco Valderrama in Turbo has seen five patients with Guillain-Barre in the last two months in Colombia on February 16, 2016.
A trash dump is pictured near a main road in El Diviso, Colombia on February 6, 2016. Health experts believe that the poor are more vulnerable to being infected by the Zika virus because they often lack an environment that diminishes the risk of being infected.
Grecia Quintero stands for a portrait inside a mosquito net in her home on Primera Avenida 1E, a street in Los Patios, Colombia on February 6, 2016. Quintero was diagnosed with Zika, but has since been cleared from its symptoms.
Colombian Vice-Minister of Public Health Fernando Ruíz Gómez speaks at a press conference about the Zika virus on February 4, 2016, at the Casablanca Hotel in Cúcuta, Colombia. He said that the Zika virus has now affected over 20,000 people in the country and just over 2,000 pregnant women are being monitored to determine any neurological anomalies like in Brazil.
Water floods the roadway entering Primera Avenida 1E, a street in Los Patios, Colombia on February 6, 2016. Health experts believe stagnant water is the ideal breeding ground for the Zika virus carrying mosquito.
Katerina Lemus Uribe shows a photograph of her cousin, Eliana Uribe Leon shortly before she died from Guillain-Barre after being infected with the Zika virus in Turbo, Colombia on February 16, 2016. Fears of the Zika virus that is spreading across the Americas have been linked to birth defects, but health experts believe the sudden rise in Guillain-Barre cases may also be connected.
Elizabeth Zambrano, 65, cries while speaking of her husband, Luis Andres Molina who is being treated for Guillain–Barré syndrome at Hospital Universitario Erasmo Meoz on February 5, 2016 in Cúcuta, Colombia. Researchers are looking into possible links between Guillain–Barré syndrome and the Zika virus.
Kelly Yoan, 15, is attended at Hospital Francisco Valderrama for the Zika virus in Turbo, Colombia on February 16, 2016. (
Darley Martinez Cabarcas, 17, stands for a portrait at Fundación Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar where she receives regular checkups for her pregnancy in Cartagena, Colombia on February 19, 2016. Carbarcas, who is eight months pregnant, was diagnosed with the Zika virus at five months.
Alma Leon cries in her home in Turbo remembering her daughter, Eliana Uribe Leon, who recently died from Guillain-Barre in Colombia on February 17, 2016. Eliana is one of three Guillain-Barre related deaths in Colombia.
David Ramirez, 20, waits with his girlfriend, Adrianna Alvarez, 18, for a check-up at Hospital E.S.E. Jorge Cristo Sahium in Villa del Rosario, Colombia, on February 6, 2016. Alvarez was diagnosed with Zika one month ago, was cleared of symptoms, but has recently started to feel ill again.
Zenit Padilla Cervantes, Director of Francisco Luis Valderrama school, said her brother was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre shortly after falling sick with the Zika virus and died at the beginning of the month in Turbo, Colombia on February 17, 2016 in Turbo, Colombia. He is one of three Guillain-Barre deaths in the country.
Ana Jhoana Acevedo's, 17, fiancé Damian Ferreira, 22, visits her at home after he is off from work in Cartagena, Colombia on February 25, 2016. Now seven-months pregnant, Ana was diagnosed with the Zika virus at four months. She hopes that her baby is unaffected.
Ethan Arbelo, 11, runs along the beach an hour after leaving the hospital following an emergency related to his cancer on June 26, 2013, in Carlsbad, Calif. Diagnosed in March 2012 with anaplastic astrocytoma grade III, a terminal brain cancer, Ethan was prescribed with merely life-extending, not curative treatment. With the help of his mom, Maria Maldonado, he set out on a cross-country road trip to tackle a list of things he wanted to do. California was the halfway mark.
Maria Maldonado comforts her son Ethan Arbelo, 11, after ordering him to rest in the shade during a fundraiser hosted by the Latin American Motorcycle Association of Fort Myers. The fundraiser was held for Ethan’s health related expenses at Harley-Davidson on March 23, 2013 in Fort Myers, Fla. Maria, a single mom, often turned to her community for help because she struggled to maintain employment while attending to Ethan’s constant medical needs.
Ethan Arbelo, 11, plays with a radiotherapy mask given to him after completing the last of 28 sessions of radiation at Florida Hospital on May 2, 2013 in Tampa, Fla. Doctors believe that he could expect to live another nine months.
Ethan Arbelo, Maria Maldonado and Lea Sellwood, left to right, look out onto the desert at a meteor impact site on June 25, 2013, just outside of Winslow, Ariz. With Ethan's help, Maria put an itinerary together for a cross-country road trip so Ethan could see faraway places. They invited Lea, a 9-year-old friend with leukemia they knew from All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and were on their way. “This is a beautiful view, ain’t it?” Ethan said. “B-E-A-U-tiful.”
Maria Maldonado shaves 11-year-old Ethan Arbelo’s mustache for the first time on July 31, 2013, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Ethan was proud of the visible sign that he was becoming a man. “It’s my respect,” he would say about the hair.
Ethan Arbelo, 11, kisses 26-year-old Ashley Schroeder at a mud park named The Redneck Yacht Club on May 25, 2013 in Punta Gorda, Fla. Ethan's mom took him to the mud park as a compromise after Ethan asked for a stripper for his 12th birthday. It was the first time Ethan had kissed a girl. “It felt like ice cream melting on my tongue,” he said.
Ethan Arbelo plays a game of pool with his dad Jose Arbelo on his 12th birthday at Diamond Billiards on August 10, 2013, in Cape Coral, Fla. After Ethan’s diagnosis, his dad was an infrequent visitor. Ethan said: “All [he] did was cause me pain. Where the f [was he] when I was at the hospital?”
Ethan Arbelo, 11, plays in the backyard of a friend’s home who also has terminal cancer on April 10, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ethan often found himself imagining superhero scenarios. “I like them so much because, just as someone is about to die, they swoop in and save them,” he said.
Maria Maldonado puts on 12-year-old Ethan Arbelo’s shoes as he looks at his homecoming date Lydianna Mize on October 12, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The dance was hosted by All Children’s Hospital for pediatric patients. “I’m nervous for Ethan,” Maria said. “This might be his first and last homecoming.”
Ethan Arbelo, 12, waits for the oncologist with his mom, Maria Maldonado, shortly after a radiologist delivered news from an MRI that shows new tumors growing in his brain at All Children’s Hospital on September 24, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Maria is hit hard by the news and writes to a friend, “I need a minute to breath before heading home.” Meanwhile, Ethan, jets his hands into the air and said, “I’m superman.”
While playing video games, Maria Maldonado yells at Ethan Arbelo, 12, for not putting more effort into using his left arm, which had begun to paralyze from swelling in his brain on December 2, 2013, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. As Ethan’s sole caregiver, Maria struggled at times with managing her stress and finding a balance of tough love with Ethan as his condition worsened. "This is his battle and he needs to fight with everything in his power, no matter how hard it gets," Maria said.
Maria Maldonado gives Ethan Arbelo, 12, one last hug before he heads for an MRI on November, 20, 2013 at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. The MRI will show that a tumor has taken over Ethan’s brain and cancer has spread into his spine. Doctors will inform them that there is not much more they can do.
Reggie Iacono, right, helps Ethan Arbelo, 12, choose a poster for his bedroom while out for a boys’ day on February 21, 2014 in Fort Myers, Fla. Reggie, the son of one of Maria’s friends, moved in with Maria and Ethan in January to act as Ethan’s caregiver for a few months while Maria was back at work.
Jose “Tito” Arbelo decompresses in Lehigh Acres, Fla., on January 17, 2014 after an argument with his ex-wife Maria Maldonado about his absence in the life of their son, Ethan Arbelo, after he was diagnosed with cancer. Tito surrendered full custody of Ethan to Maria shortly after his diagnosis. A third-grade school portrait of Ethan from two years before his diagnosis hangs on the wall beside him.
Too weak to walk on January 17, 2014, Ethan Arbelo, 12, plays with Superman action figures in a reclining chair where he spends most of his days in Lehigh Acres, Fla. “It’s heartbreaking watching your child revert,” Maria said.
Maria Maldonado sits in the Gulf of Mexico with her 12-year-old son, Ethan Arbelo, after he requested to take a dip on April 16, 2014, on Fort Myers Beach, Fla. Two friends helped Maria carry Ethan to the ocean, one of his favorite places. It was the last time he visited the beach.
Maria Maldonado and Ethan Arbelo, 12, watch as violinist Nanette Grant plays a private concert on June 12, 2014 in Lehigh Acres, Fla. “I’ll do anything to get his spirits up,” Maria said.
Maria Maldonado prepares Ethan Arbelo, 12, for sleep on May 21, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Ethan was losing his eyesight due to the buildup of fluid inside his brain. “It feels like I’m losing my best friend,” Maria said.
Maria Maldonado cries hugging Ethan Arbelo, 12, as he transitions into death on July, 3, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. “In those last minutes when you know your son is taking those last breaths, all you’re doing is praying for death for you too because you can’t imagine life without your baby,” Maria said.
Maria Maldonado watches on as Marine pallbearers carry the casket containing her son, Ethan Arbelo. In October, Ethan was named an honorary Marine. He died with the rank of sergeant. “Thank you all for loving my little man,” Maria said during the funeral at First Christian Church on July 12, 2014 in Fort Myers, Fla.
On July 5, 2014, two days after Ethan Arbelo died, Maria Maldonado receives a tattoo at Ink Cafe in Cape Coral, Fla, of a drawing Ethan made with their initials just before losing movement in his hands. “This way he is always with me,” Maria said.
Former coca farmers
Jacinto Tapia rows over to the fields where he grew coca until switching to bananas last year, on October 29, 2015. He lives in the farming town of Tierradentro in northern Colombia.
Former coca farms that are now cultivating bananas are seen along the San Jorge River near Tierradentro, Colombia.
In Tierradentro a crop substitution program encourages former coca growers like Jacinto to grow bananas or cacao. The are is under a unilateral cease-fire but thick with paramilitary and FARC history. Everyone has been affected by the war.
Juan Martinez yanks leaves from a coca plant before cutting it from the ground in Tierradentro. Farmers in the area, switching to crops other than coca, say they feel safer.
Jacinto Tapia's coca plants could be harvested every 40 days, almost year-round. When soldiers ripped out his coca plants last year he signed up for the crop substitution program.
Farmers say they are proud to grow food but are having trouble making ends meet.
Farmer Juan Martinez washes pesticides from his arms after manually eradicating coca plants on a banana farm in Tierradentro, Colombia on October 29, 2015.
Jacinto Tapia secures a canoa after working on his banana farm in Tierradentro, Colombia on October 29, 2015. With financial assistance from USAID, Colombia Responde offers support to farmers in the area for the production and commercialization of banana and cacao crops as well as pisciculture.
Tierradentro is a farming town in the Cordoba department in northern Colombia. -- This project was originally commissioned for the Washington Post
Cubanos en Colombia
Sheylan Cardenas Lopez atiende a su bebe Ethan Yanes Cardenas de dies días en la casa donde vive con doce Cubanos en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia. Son unos de cientos medicos profesionales de Cuba en Colombia que se han desertado su posición en Venezuela con la esperanza de emigrar a los Estados Unidos con la Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. Aprobación de los visas para esta grupo esta casi parada.
Locales dicen que en Bogotá hay cintos medicos profesionales de Cuba que se han desertado su posición en Venezuela con la esperanza de emigrar a los Estados Unidos con la Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.
Pertenencias están organizados en una cuarto donde conviven Cubanos en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Guillermo Alarcon Garcia posa por un retrato en la cocina de una casa donde convive con doce Cubanos en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia. Es uno de cientos medicos profesionales de Cuba en Colombia que se han desertado su posición en Venezuela con la esperanza de emigrar a los Estados Unidos con la Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.
Eduardo Socarias Lopez, 51, mira a sus cicatrices resultante de cholecystitis que padecía después de llegar en Colombia en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Una nota de Eduardo Socarias Lopez, 51, esta pegado en su cuarto en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Discel Rodríguez Vega visita la habitación de un compañero de casa donde convive doce Cubanos viven juntos en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Dies días después te tener una cesárea Sheylan Cardenas Lopez recibe atención medical del enfermero Descel Rodriguez Vega, izquierda, con su marido Jorge Yanes, derecha, el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Optometrísta Osniel Hernandez Delgado posa por una retrato encima de su cama que se ha usado en Colombia en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Eduardo Socarias Lopez, 51, prepare un jugo en una casa donde renta una cuarto mientras que espera el aprobación de su visa para ir a los Estados Unidos en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Leandro Enrique posa por un retrato en la puerta del casa donde vive con doce Cubanos en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia. El es uno de cientos medicos profesionales de Cuba en Colombia que se han desertado su posición en Venezuela con la esperanza de emigrar a los Estados Unidos con la Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. Es uno de pocos Cubanos que ha ganado una visa para emigrar.
Miguel Macey lee una nota que dice que su visa para los Estados Unidos fue negada en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Guillermo Alarcon Garcia, Yanier Garcia Estrada, Marice Arcia Del Rey y Claudia Martinez Mena, de izquierda a derecha, hablan en la casa donde viven con doce Cubanos en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Yosmany Velázquez Silva, posa por un retrato afuera de su casa en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia. Silva es un médico de 31 años que escapó su position en Abril de una misión médica en el estado de Yaracuy con unos $2,000 en el bolsillo.
Lianis Hechavarria González, Leodesky Santiesteban, Eduardo Socarias Lopez, Miguel Macey y Luis Ochoa Carmente, de izquierda a derecha, hablan en la casa donde viven con doce Cubanos en el 14 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Cosas cuelgan en un casa donde doce Cubanos viven juntos en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Annie Rodriguez atienda a su bebe Wilberlys Antonella de ocho meses en la casa que renta una cuarto desde llegar a Colombia en el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
LiLiet Rodriguez Puentes, Yoendys Cecilia Soca, Felix Perez Miranda, Orniel Hernandez Delgado, y Yoamarys Perez Madruga, izquierda a derecha, juegan cartas en uno de los cuartos de la casa donde doce personas el 13 de Augusto, 2015 en Bogotá, Colombia.
Locales dicen que en el barrio Kennedy al sur de occidente de Bogotá hay cintos medicos profesionales de Cuba que se han desertado su posición en Venezuela con la esperanza de emigrar a los Estados Unidos con la Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program. Aprobación de los visas para esta grupo esta casi parada. -- Esta historia fue encargado originalmente por El Nuevo Herald
M to F
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, waits for the school bus on the first day of middle school as a 6th grader with her mom, Christina May, left, in front of their home on August 18, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Dee is a male to female transgender. This is the first year in school she will go by the name Dee-Vyne instead of her birth name, Dante.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, uses her mom’s cell phone to look at family photographs on August 28, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. "A long time ago, I was a boy," she said when passing a picture of herself before her transition.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, curtsies after being instructed to act as herself during a therapy session with other pre-teen transgenders, not pictured, and therapist Eva Smidova, right, at The Center of SWFL, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center, on October 4, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. This is the first year The Center of SWFL has a therapy group designed specifically for transgender pre-teens.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 12, poses for a portrait on March 9, 2015, at her home in Lehigh Acres, Fla, holding a school photograph taken of when she dressed as a boy in 2010. The picture would be taken the year before she started dressing as a girl. This year, Dee left her former name, Dante, behind and started the 6th grade in August of 2014 as who she wants to be, Dee-Vyne.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, holds her mom Christina Mays’ hand as she heads out to skate in front of their home on September 1, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. "What I want most for her and others like her is to never have to explain about them, who or what they are," Mays said. "They are just people like everyone else."
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, inspects the cartoon princesses printed on the cover of a movie in the bedroom she shares with her two nephews on October 4, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Dee’s was worried about her transition at first, but after reading statistics about suicide rates among transgender people, she decided to help her facilitate the process. The Youth Suicide Prevention Program quoted that more than 50 percent of transgender youth will have at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, back center, 11, watches on as Cheyenne, Helen and Kayla Jordan, left to right, help C.J. Jordan learn to walk during a Labor Day party at her home on September 1, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Dee’s mom says that some family does not approve of the decision to allow her to transition into a female. "The ones that matter are here," she said.
After growing excited about the prospect of attending her cousin’s wedding in a bridesmaid dress, Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, is silenced by her step-dad Dwayne Mays, right, who pointed at her while telling her to “behave,” on October 18, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, left, pulls weeds with her nephew Daymion Strother, right, outside their home on October 18, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. “Instead of doing boy stuff all day, I can do girl stuff with her,” Daymion said. “It’s kind of fun.”
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, left, plays a game of pool with her mom Christina Mays, right, at The Center of SWFL, a gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center where Dee goes to therapy sessions with other transgender pre-teens on October 4, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 12, has her hair cut and straightened by Delta Lopez, left, and Yaniry Lopez, right, at Final Touch Hair Salon on March 3, 2015, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Her mom, Christina Mays said it was time for the trim because, "it's been at least two years since we cut Dee's hair." As Dee was going through her male to female transition, she was allowing time to grow out her hair.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine blows out her birthday candles while surrounded by her family including her step-father Dwayne Mays, second right, on December 13, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. She was being urged to make a wish before blowing out the candles. “Every day, my wishes come true,” Dee said.
Dee-Vyne "Dee" Valentine, 11, plays in the backyard of her home on October 18, 2014, in Lehigh Acres, Fla. "Judge(s) should make rulings about letting me in the girls’ locker room and the girls’ bathroom because I'm a girl," Dee said.