On February 11, 2008 W.E.A.N. Executive Director Janice Jackson was one of five women winning a casting call by Ebony Magazine who was hosting a contest for Queen Latifah’s new line of CoverGirl make-up for African American women entitled “Every Woman Is A Queen.” Queen Latifah wanted to use ordinary women who have overcome major challenges.
Janice had to submit an essay and answer the question “Why do I think I was a Queen?” She told of how at the age of 24 she was hit by a car and left a wheelchair user and how the medical doctors told her that the only thing that she would be able to do is move her shoulders. Janice further spoke of how some twenty-three years later, she is not only moving physically, but is also moving mountains of negative stereotypes.
She has changed the face of disABILITY. One that says she is beautiful, strong, and successful. She also shared that she is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Baltimore and the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit mentoring program entitled Women Embracing Abilities Now (W.E.A.N.). W.E.A.N. empowers women with dis-ABILITIES and help them realize that they are women first and that their disABILITIES are just a part of who they are.
Out of 4800 entries from around the country Queen Latifah and a team of judges embraced Janice's story and selected her as a CoverGirl contest winner. This selection is history making. Since its introduction in 1961, CoverGirl has never used a woman with disABILITY to represent their product. She will appear in the June 2008 issue of Ebony magazine. Janice will be featured on Lifetime TV starting May 2008 and will run through July 2008.
W.E.A.N.'s 2011 "Queen For The Day" Huge Success!
W.E.A.N.'s 5th annual Queen For A Day event "pampered" over 40 women in wheelchairs as well as some women with other disABILITY who were attending the 2011 Women's Expo at the Community College of Baltimore - Catonsville campus. In attendance were many volunteers from the community who did the pampering as well as family and friends of W.E.A.N. members. Services rendered were hair styling, make-up, nails, and even massages.
The W.E.A.N. Queens had an opportunity to show case their inner and outter beauty as they were crowned and sashed.
A special thanks go out to all of the Volunteers, Board Members, Mentors, and Catonsville Community College for making "The Queen For A Day" event a hugh success. Love, Janice.
MS. WHEELCHAIR MARYLAND
The Four CoverGirl Winners!.
Appeared in July 2008 Edition of Ebony!
President Honors Maryland Woman Who Helps Defy Disabilities
Janice Jackson honored with Presidential Citizen's Medal
Janice Jackson went to the White House on Friday to receive the 2012 Presidential Citizen's Medal, the nation's second-highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.
"To be recogniced by the president is pretty sweet," Jackson said. "he told me that I look pretty today, and I said, 'You too, Mr. President. You look pretty also." I didn't know what to say. I was in awe."
Jackson, 53, said it's a personal triumph that she's already usng to help others. She's also hoping to raise the national profile of her Baltimore-based nonprofit called Women Embracing Abilities Now (WEAN).
"It's a nonprofit that helps women who have suffered debilitating injuries learn to adjust to their new situation," Jackson told 11 News reporter Kate Amara. "I wanted to put a new face on disabled women and let the world know that women with disabilities are out there doing their thing, and we take pride in ourselves as women. We care about our beauty inside and out."
Jackson turned her life story into one of triumph and courage after it took a turn toward tragedy 29 yeara ago when, at 24, she was hit by a car in Prince George's County. She spent a month in Shock Trauma and was paralyzed. Doctors said, if she was luck, she might be able to one day move her shoulders.
"(The driver) lost control of his car, came and hit me. I flew 40 feet into the air and broke my neck when I landed on it," Jackson said.
After two years in rehab and a lot of soul-searching, Jackson said she decided to accept her fate, get on with her life and prove the doctors wrong. She won pageants, earing the title of Ms. Wheelchair Maryland in 1993, and was even a "Cover Girl" model (see article below).
Jackson is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore, teaching psychology and ethics. she said she founded WEAN so she could hsare what she learned with other women in the same position.
Jackson and her team of mentors said that in seven years, they've touched the lives of more than 1,000 women.
"We mentor women with new disabilities. We help them rehab. We give them hope. We serve as peer counselors for them," Jackson siad. "We know what they're going through when they get back into the community. We try to try to tell them even though you have limitations, you still have abilities."
Jackson said she's just a women in a wheelchair who has had an extraordinatry life. "It's your abilities you need to shine. Not your limitations," Jackson said. Her goal in the next seven years is to have sister chapters of WEAN at every hospital and rehab facility in every state.
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