After being crowned Ms. Wheelchair New York 2018, Ketrina Hazell of Brooklyn began to blossom into a motivational speaker, enabling her to work to empower other people with disabilities to advocate for themselves. Ms. Wheelchair New York is a competition that promotes disability awareness, education and advocacy and celebrates the accomplishments of women who use wheelchairs.
Ketrina is herself a self-advocate. Having been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 9 months of age, she uses a wheelchair for mobility. After winning the Ms. Wheelchair competition, Ketrina focused her platform on bringing self-advocacy into schools to make them more inclusive.
It is because of the Ms. Wheelchair competition, Ketrina says, that she was given the opportunity to speak at schools, self-advocacy groups, local community organizations, to teachers and department of education employees.
Today, Ketrina is proud to work as Self-Advocacy Lead for the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation and be a founder/ co-founder of her very own advocacy group called Voices of Power. One recent accomplishment of which Ketrina is especially proud is being a college graduate. She graduated from Kingsborough Community College with her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts in June 2020. Most recently she has taken the step to take courses to become a certified life coach.
Some other accomplishments of Ketrina's include her development of the “Trina Legacy Project” to celebrate Disability Awareness Month and hosting the first ever disability awareness workshop educating employees within the New York City Department of Education. Trina works with New York City schools to encourage youth advocacy and inclusion.
When speaking with other self-advocates, Ketrina reminds people to focus on their own wants and needs and what they want to achieve and voice those goals to their staff. She encourages people with disabilities to befriend people with and without disabilities and get involved in their communities.
Ketrina, who also serves on the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and the Post-Secondary Advisory Council in Albany, says she is most inspired by her parent's journey raising her. She is also inspired by kids and adults with disabilities and her supporters and team who believe in her and her vision to make a difference. She believes she inspires others by telling her story and that is something that she intends to continue doing.