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Fighting for Accessibility: My Journey with the DOJ and Key Bridge Foundation

Introduction


Hello, everyone. Jensen Caraballo here. Today, I want to share a critical update on a journey I've embarked upon to ensure that businesses in Rochester, New York, are ADA-compliant. For those who may not be aware, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. One of the most crucial aspects of this law is ensuring that public spaces are accessible to everyone, including those of us who use wheelchairs.


The Incident at Salvatore's


On March 15, 2023, I filed a formal complaint against a local establishment, Salvatore's, located at 4000 Lake Avenue. The issue? Their building is not wheelchair accessible. This is more than just an inconvenience; it's a violation of federal law, specifically the ADA.


The Department of Justice Steps In


After filing the complaint, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division took the matter seriously and connected me with the Key Bridge Foundation. This organization specializes in mediating ADA-related disputes, aiming to bring about resolutions that are fair and just for all parties involved.


The Mediation Process Begins


On June 14, 2023, I received an email from my designated case manager at the Key Bridge Foundation. The email confirmed that the DOJ had referred my case for mediation and outlined the next steps in the process. The case manager would send a copy of my complaint to Salvatore's and invite them to participate in mediation to resolve the matter.


A Positive Step Forward


Today, I received encouraging news: Salvatore's has agreed to participate in the mediation process. While this is just the beginning, it's a significant step toward ensuring that businesses in our community are accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical abilities.


Why This Matters


Accessibility is not a privilege; it's a right. Disabled people deserve freedom and the support of home and community-based services. By holding businesses accountable for ADA compliance, we're not just fighting for ramps or wider doors; we're fighting for the recognition that disability rights are human rights.


Conclusion


The fight for accessibility and disability justice is far from over, but each step forward counts. I'll keep you all updated as the mediation process with Salvatore's unfolds. In the meantime, let's continue to advocate for a world that recognizes the dignity, worth, and rights of all individuals, regardless of their physical abilities.


Remember, fair pay for home care is essential, Black Lives Matter, and let's make abortion legal and safe for everyone who needs it. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Until next time.


Jensen Caraballo, signing off.

Jensen Caraballo written in cursive. This is my official logo.

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