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From Institutional Walls to Advocacy Halls: My Journey as Jensen Caraballo


Hello, everyone. My name is Jensen Caraballo, and I'm an Accessibility Specialist based in Rochester, New York. I work for the Regional Center for Independent Living, and my life revolves around disability rights, justice, advocacy, accessibility, and activism. Today, I want to share my personal and professional journey with you—a journey that has taken me from the confining walls of a nursing home to the empowering halls of advocacy.

The Early Struggles

When I was just 15 years old, I was forced into a nursing home. This experience lasted until I was 21, and it was a period that opened my eyes to the systemic issues plaguing the disability community. I realized that institutionalization is more than just a word; it's a violation of human rights that pushes disabled individuals into environments that stifle growth and independence. Escaping that institution at 21 was my first real taste of freedom, and it marked the beginning of my activism.

My Advocacy Work

Since breaking free, I've dedicated my life to fighting for a more inclusive world. In my role as an Accessibility Specialist, I get to put my passion into action. I'm not just doing this job for the title; I'm genuinely interested in mastering accessibility codes and ADA standards. In fact, one of my current goals is to earn a raise by demonstrating my competency in these areas.

But my advocacy doesn't stop at my job. For several years now, I've been actively campaigning to end the institutional bias against disabled people. I'm a firm believer in promoting Independent Living through home and community-based services and support. These aren't just buzzwords for me; they're principles I live by, fueled by my own experiences.

My Current Goals

Professionally, I'm working hard to validate my expertise in accessibility, aiming for that well-deserved raise. On a personal level, I'm focused on starting an emergency fund and saving money—essential steps for long-term security. But my advocacy work also has a local dimension. I'm currently striving to make Salvatore's, a local establishment, fully accessible to the disability community. It's a specific, community-focused goal that I believe will make a tangible difference.

Life Beyond Advocacy

When I'm not engrossed in codes, standards, or activism, I have a range of hobbies that keep me grounded. I love reading, writing, listening to music, and watching TV. These activities are not just a source of relaxation; they also serve as a wellspring of inspiration for my advocacy work. After all, the fight for a more inclusive world should not exclude the enjoyment of life's simpler pleasures.


I am more than just my job title or my advocacy work; I am a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of activism. As I continue to work towards my personal and professional goals, I'm reminded every day that the fight for disability rights is far from over. But with each step I take, I'm hopeful that I'm leaving a lasting impact on the world of disability rights and accessibility. Thank you for taking the time to learn about my journey.

This text is written in cursive and it reads Jensen Caraballo.
Jensen Caraballo

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