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Cape Coral High School graduate crowned Ms. Wheelchair Florida

March 30, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A Cape Coral High School graduate was recently crowned 2018's Ms. Wheelchair Florida.

Shavaughn Barnes, 29, of Jacksonville, received the title during the "Be the Change Be Empowered" Conference and Gala at the Embassy Suites in Tampa, March 16-18.

The event provided an opportunity for women across the state of Florida who utilize wheelchairs to effectively educate and advocate for individuals with disabilities; a message of achievement shared throughout the year to our society. The conference provided workshops from subject matter experts on advocacy, fundraising, public speaking, domestic violence, marketing and accessible travel.

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Shavaughn Barnes

Contestants were assessed on their knowledge of the Americans with Disabil-ities Act, their public speaking skills and the impact of their personal platform.

Sarah Goldman, District Legislative Aid, Florida House of Representatives, served as the keynote speaker with a special guest appearance from Raquel Pancho, ADA coordinator for the City of Tampa.

Barnes, who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, will represent the state of Florida at the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant in Grand Rapids, Michigan July 30 Aug. 5, 2018. Her platform focuses on advocating, educating and empowering all persons with disabilities as well as educating the general public about the challenges and struggles the disabled community faces on a daily basis in the hopes that everyone can come together to make change and break stereotypes and discrimination against those with a disability.

In 2006, Barnes founded the organization RADD (Rising Against Disabilities and Discrimination) and will utilize its mission to promote her platform. She will have the opportunity to travel around Florida and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities including: affordable housing/homelessness, accessibility, quality healthcare service delivery, transportation, domestic violence, child abuse, mental illness and suicide prevention.

About Ms. Wheelchair Florida

The mission of Ms. Wheelchair Florida Inc. is to provide an opportunity for women of achievement who utilize wheelchairs to successfully educate and advocate for all individuals with disabilities. Ms. Wheelchair Florida, Inc. strives to advocate for all people with disabilities to not only be included, but be valuable contributors to their individual communities. Ms. Wheelchair Florida pushes for people with disabilities to be given opportunities and choices in the areas of employment, education, and housing. The organization aims to bring awareness to all disabilities, challenge the misperceptions and support a community without prejudice and discrimination. Visit



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