Advocating for people with disabilities

Ms. Wheelchair MD 2013 - Patrina Franklin

Have you ever had a conversation with someone or a group of people and it felt like the message you were sharing was relatable, encouraging, and truly felt? Well that’s how I felt when I spoke at Kernan SCI support group. Within the audience I recognized familiar faces and meet new people as well. The group was very receptive and responsive to all the guest speakers. I look forward to attending more support groups at Kernan in the future.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Independence Now, along with the Prince George’s County Crisis Services and the Silver Spring Wellness and Recover Center, hosted an afternoon tea. The theme of the event was “Women of Strength, Determination and Inspiration.”

Our guest speakers were Cathy Raggio, the MD Secretary of Disabilities, and Founder of Independence Now and Patrina Franklin, 2013 Ms. Wheelchair Maryland. Secretary Raggio spoke on her life and her achievements with the main topic being self-determination and empowerment. Ms. Franklin related her role and responsibilities as Ms. Wheelchair Maryland and inspired the attendees with her advice.

Linda Morgan gave an original dramatic presentation on the life of Harriet Tubman. Ms. Morgan is a retired school teacher and Founder of Children of Light (a non-profit Drama Ministry uniting people of abilities through performance for 15 years).

Women's History Month

On March 17 at Community College of Baltimore City (CCBC) I had the pleasure of speaking at W.E.A.N’s seventh annual queen for a day. As a woman I believe it is important to know that beauty is more than skin deep. The room was filled with women of different ages, race, culture and ethnicity. It is important to remind women that being the best they can be and not what anybody else wants them to be is substantial. During this day everyone was able to get pampered, served lunch and the W. E.A.N queens were crowned. The women’s Expo was fun, exciting and filled with numerous vendors selling amazing items.

It was a unique experience celebrating the year of the snake during the 2013 Chinese banquet and fundraiser hosted by the Kiwanis club of N.W. Washington, D.C. I was able to try new foods and witness a traditional lion dance. It is a awesome feeling to know my reign has lead me to be exposed to a new adventure.

I was invited to share my current title and about the Ms. wheelchair Maryland organization by the director of Women Embracing Abilities Now (W.E.A.N) at an fundraising event on December 15th. It was my pleasure to meet a courageous group if men forming the group League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Services (L.E.G.S).

This brotherhood has four missions: First, to mentor male individuals of all ages that have a disability that is similar to the members of L.E.G.S. Second, to do outreach endeavors to promote a cure for individuals with spinal cord injuries. Third, to network with other organizations and entities to help themselves and the other organization achieve the mission sought after (By networking with other organizations and entities, it improves the effectiveness in accomplishing the organizational goals). The fourth mission is to educate the public, especially the youth, concerning people with disabilities. They are committed to improving the image of men and women in society with disabilities.

Everyone was welcoming and the atmosphere at this fundraising event was fun and free-spirited. Ad I observed the room as everyone seemed to be enjoying the live band S.L.A.GZ and the dinner that was served. It was a nice night to partake in.