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Heart to Heart

CREATING COMMUNITY & CHANGE

How participants in the Ms. Wheelchair America competition are creating community and making the world a better place

Women compete at the state level, then move on to the Ms. Wheelchair America national competition, where they’re judged on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation. The goal is to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for people with disabilities.

Allison Boot, Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2023, got involved because she wanted to find community with other women who were also interested in advocacy and disability rights. 

“I’m from Dayton, Ohio, originally but I had moved away for about six years before moving back,” Boot says. “When I came back, a lot of my friends had moved away or were in different stages of their lives, so I participated in Ms. Wheelchair Ohio so that I could meet other women who were wheelchair users and advocates and make more friends.” 

Boot also saw the competition as a way to garner greater visibility for her platform, which is centered on inclusive literature. 

“My platform is READ for Equity,” Boot explains. “The acronym stands for “Raise Awareness, Embrace Differences, Advocate for Acceptance, and Dream Big. Inclusive literature and other inclusive mediums can encourage people in these areas, which leads to people with disabilities living more equitable lives.” 

Boot’s platform isn’t just something she talks about. A three-time self-published author, Boot is currently at work on her next book, a children’s book. All of her books, which are geared toward young adults and children, include characters with disabilities. 

“Two of the three books include princesses with disabilities,” Boot says. “My other book is geared a little more toward girls and boys, with a valiant man who goes on an epic quest to defeat a dragon. My fourth book, which I’m working on now, is about a unicorn who uses a wheelchair.” 

The books, Boot says, are a way to increase disability visibility and advocate for disability rights. 

“I realized from a very young age what an important tool advocacy can be, and that’s why I write young adult and children’s books,” she says. “It’s a fun way to expose and educate kids about something they may not have experienced themselves.” 


Allison Boot, Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2023

Hometown: Beaver Creek, Ohio

Platform: READ for Equity
On why advocacy is so important: “It’s so important to have a voice and make sure it’s heard because people with disabilities deserve to live equitable full lives. We have a wonderful piece of legislation in the ADA, but if advocates don’t continue to talk about why it’s important or how much it helps to shape and improve our lives, then people won’t know and it will lose some of that importance and power.” Learn more about Allison’s books at allisonmbootauthor.com and follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

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