Gets Real: Local woman advocates for ending discrimination against those with disabilities

Disability advocate Krystal Monteros uses a wheelchair and wants to put an end to discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Monteros was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from just above her knee down. On Friday, she shared her story with us.

“I’ve been in a wheelchair since I was born,” said Monteros. “I’m extremely active in my chair. I probably would have rolled billions of miles.”

Monteros said ableism is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.

“I mean I have to pay attention in all directions,” she said. “The no turning right on red would actually make it safer for me to cross the street, because then I don’t have to worry about the cars immediately turning while I’m trying to cross.”

Monteros gave examples of things able-bodied people usually don’t consider.

“I have to watch out for the bigger rocks so I don’t get jammed. My wheels will get jammed, I’m gonna end up tipping over forward. If this small wheel falls over this way, I’m bound to flip over sideways. The cracks should not be here, that’s where ableism comes into play because the able-bodied community really doesn’t focus on these cracks. They can easily step over them and not think about it.” she said. “I was coming back from AMPM and the next thing you know I was on this side, my body was out of my wheelchair.”

That’s why Monteros is advocating for more accessibility.

“The sidewalk runs out as of now. That’s why I’m trying to get it changed, so we can have sidewalks with curb cuts but for now, it blocks my path,” she said.

Although Moneteros uses a wheelchair, she wants people to see her as a person first.

“If you’re gonna address my disability in any way, I’d prefer to be addressed as a person with a disability or that girl in a wheelchair but address the fact that I’m a person first,” she said.

And Monteros isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

“For my future, if I see something that’s wrong I’m not gonna keep my mouth shut. I’m always gonna be an advocate. That’s just in my blood, that’s just what I do,” she said.

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