Advocating for people with disabilities



Wanda Hawkins-Barber of Capital Heights, MD was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2019 on November 10, 2018 at the Rockville Hilton.

Barber became Ms. Wheelchair Maryland after a full day of competition which included workshops, private interviews, and a platform speech. She will now serve as Maryland’s state titleholder for one year and will prepare to represent the state of Maryland and compete in the Ms. Wheelchair America 2019 pageant in Little Rock, AR, on July 1 – July 7, 2019.

The Ms. Wheelchair Maryland and Ms. Wheelchair America organizations do not judge beauty. Instead, the Ms. Wheelchair Maryland and Ms. Wheelchair America organizations focus on advocacy and recognizing the free spirit and accomplishments of women who use wheelchairs.

Throughout her reign, Barber will serve as a spokeswoman throughout the state where she can discuss awareness, acceptance and the overall understanding of disabilities with the general public. She will have the opportunity to travel across the state, visit advocacy groups, make public appearances, including possible parade appearances,
and is available to conduct interviews.

Barber will also use her year as Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2019 to share her platform: Communicate, educate, participate, and feel great! With her platform, she plans to encourage and foster open communication between individuals with and without disabilities. Ultimately, she hopes to highlight and raise awareness about the value and talents that individuals with disabilities can bring to society. She believes that everyone has unique abilities and wants to encourage others to embrace their strengths, participate in their communities, and reach for their dreams.

Barber uses a wheelchair for mobility due to a car accident. She, however, has not let these circumstances stop her. Barber lives life to the fullest and aims to shine a positive light on disabilities. Through advocacy and education, she sets an example for other individuals who also use wheelchairs for mobility.

Prior to her accident in …., Barber was a nurse for many years. Currently she works as an Options Counselor for Money Follows the Person, she frequently visits nursing/rehabilitation Centers to uplift residents through her church Ministry and volunteers at the Crescent City Center. Barber has learned to embrace the challenges in her life and will use her new title as a way to continue to raise awareness about disabilities. She is excited about her reign and is available for appearances.


If you would like more information about Ms. Wheelchair Maryland or to schedule an interview with Wanda Hawkins-Barber please contact her by phone at 301.536.2716 or email at

Ms. Wanda

My name is Chelsea Stanton and I am (your) Ms. Wheelchair Maryland of 2018! My mission is to help society understand the importance of giving persons with disabilities the same opportunities as others would expect to receive. My hope is that my personal and professional achievements of disability and animal advocacy will help people in all waves of life understand they are capable of achieving anything. Everyone has a different way of overcoming situations, but as they say, hard work outweighs talent any day of the week!


November 1st and 2nd 2013 were days of great expectation, nerves, excitement and a culmination of life accomplishments coming together as women representing Maryland came to Rockville to compete in the Ms. Wheelchair Maryland Gala which was their 43rd consecutive pageant. Contestants Carolyn Diaz, Sherry Selinske, Shani Watson and Perneita Farrar-Fitzgerald arrived Friday evening to attend the Meet and Greet, designed to allow the women to get to know each other a little, have fun and receive Saturday’s agenda. Saturday began at 9 am with Welcome address from the 16 year veteran State Coordinator for Maryland Robert Watson briefing the ladies on the schedule, imparting words of encouragement to enjoy the day, relax and do their best. Robert said “Everyone here is a winner but today one lady will be elected to represent Maryland for the year at various functions and events and she will also attend the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant in Longbeach California July, 2014 along with over 30 other women representing their various states”. The ladies presented themselves to the Judges, Jeri Wasco State Coordinator for Ms.Wheelchair DC, Derek Marryshow and Kelvin Hawkins on four separate occasions throughout the day. At 7 pm that evening we first crowned Jr. Miss Wheelchair MD, Dominique Ingram. Then former Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013 Patrina Franklin handed off her crown to the newly announced Ms. Wheelchair MD Shani Watson. Carolyn Diaz was announced 1st runner up and in the event Shani is unable to fulfill her duties representing the organization throughout the year, Carolyn would step up and take the title holders responsibilities. Amid cheers from family and friends in the audience photo opportunities ensue and another pageant come’s to a close with Robert and his assistant coordinator Shannon Minnick looking forward to working with Shani this year. The year affords great opportunity to volunteer at functions such as feed the homeless, the Disability Expo held in July down town Silver Spring and using her platform to educate as she travels and speaks on “Inclusion through Accessibility”. Shani described herself as diligent, independent, a motivator, outspoken and sincere.

The Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013 gala occurred on November 3, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland. Congratulations to all contestants including: Patrina Franklin from Churchton, Alexandria Gethers from Baltimore, Shani Watson from Upper Marlboro, Sheila Whitaker from Glen Burnie, and Lea Edgecomb from Germantown. Patrina Franklin was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013, and Lea Edgecomb was crowned Junior Miss Wheelchair Maryland 2013. For the first time in Ms. Wheelchair Maryland history, a Senior Ms. Wheelchair Maryland was named. Sheila Whitaker was crowned Senior Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2013. Patrina will represent Maryland at the national pageant in July in Houston, Texas.
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