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A Writer’s Journey

My name is Jensen Caraballo and I am a writer going on a personal journey and I invite everyone on this path. I am a 32 year old Puerto Rican man with a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type Two (SMA type 2). I am writing this post on my MacBook Pro, but it ended up freezing on me, so I needed to switch to my iPhone 12 Pro Max.

I am a writer. That's the title I've taken on personally because it's who I am and it shaped my identity. Welcome to my world. I am sitting in my iLevel wheelchair. I'm also drinking a Red Bull. It's almost 1 in the morning. My thoughts are jumbled and scrambled eggs. I am trying to make some sense from my thoughts.

Tonight, I filed a complaint against the Salvatore's pizzeria restaurant in my neighborhood because they're not wheelchair accessible. The complaint is through the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. As I understand it, they are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. They've had over 30 years to become wheelchair accessible. They've been in business since 1978. There's no excuse. It's "too expensive" doesn't cut it anymore. Not becoming wheelchair accessible is costing you more money in the long run.

It is my duty and responsibility to make a fuss when the world isn't accessible to me. The world is counting on advocates like me to take action. We must establish change to the status quo. Discrimination, exclusion, and ableism are no longer okay. They've never been okay. The time is now to become wheelchair accessible.

Our environment must be disabled friendly. Disabled people exist everywhere. The ADA is supposed to protect us from this type of civil rights violation. The year is now 2023, and the ADA was established in 1990. It's been over 30 years since we realized disability rights are civil rights.

The need for wheelchair accessibility is not new. Disabled advocates have been battling against this type of discrimination for many years.

This is my journey. I am a writer. I am a wheelchair user, a poet, queer, disabled, person of color from Puerto Rico. Yo hablo español también.

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