Wilson Charles

Wilson is pursuing an M.S. at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a concentration in Global Business and Finance. He went to the University of Washington, Seattle for undergrad, earning a dual degree in Political Science and Philosophy, each with honors. He also obtained a certificate in International Security and minored in human rights. Wilson also participated in an exchange program in Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris in France and earned an additional certificate in International Affairs and Strategy. During his undergrad, Wilson also worked as both the second and first vice chair and the chair of the 21st legislative district of the Democratic Party in the state of Washington. In addition to English, he speaks Haitian-Creole and French. After graduating from college, Wilson went to work for Apple as a product specialist. He also hosted radio shows for five years and did community choir conducting for two and a half years. Wilson enjoys playing the piano. Post-graduation, he hopes to work as a civil servant for the government, specifically the United States Department of State.



Reflections on Disability in Uganda – from a Distance

20 Jun

This is the flag of Uganda, the country I was supposed to travel to for approximately two months for a summer fellowship. Thanks to coronavirus, I am not able to travel to Uganda but instead am stuck in my basement, working remotely with the Gulu Disabled Persons Union, in partnership with the Advocacy Project. Looking at previous fellows’ blogs makes me sad that I can’t physically be in Gulu, Uganda; nevertheless, with my personal and professional experience, I am determined to make a difference by assisting the GDPU staff remotely.

Growing up as a blind child, my ultimate goal was to become an air force pilot. As an adult, my cousin enjoys reminding me that at the tender age of six, I was convinced I would buy my own plane and fly my family around the world. Years later, I now realize that flying a plane is not possible for me due to my visual impairment. However, my passion to explore the world in different ways has not waned.

I grew up in Haiti, a tumultuous country ruled by dictatorship, which was replaced by a pseudo-democracy, but injustice and inequality continued to reign. As a legally blind young man, I experienced those injustices myself. For instance, the lack of legal protection in Haiti for those with disabilities caused bullying in school to be a common occurrence. As a result, older students would jump in front of me while I was walking and wait for me to collide into them and laugh as it happened. Moreover, some students would punch me and run away, knowing I could not fight back. However, these traumatic experiences did not deter or discourage me. Instead, it gave me more strength and determination to press forward with my studies, so that one day I can be a contributor to the fight against injustice and inequality around the world.

Given that I partly grew up in a country where inequality was the norm, this embedded in me the passion to fight to have a world with more equality. After multiple conversations with Iain Guest, the director of the Advocacy Project, as well as Ojok Patrick, the director of the Gulu Disabled Persons Union, I realize there is much work to be done. As a disabled person who has experienced injustice myself growing up in a third-world country, this fellowship will be an opportunity for me to assist the staff of the GDPU in the fight against inequality in Gulu, Uganda.

Posted By Wilson Charles

Posted Jun 20th, 2020

4 Comments

  • Alexandra Mayer

    June 25, 2020

     

    Wilson, it’s great to learn more about you! Your past experiences and future goals are admirable. I’m sure your spirit of exploration and passion for justice will help make the world a better place.

  • Iain Guest

    June 28, 2020

     

    Wilson – you cannot imagine how pleased we are to have you at AP this summer, and how disappointed we are that you can’t visit Uganda in person. You have so many personal insights and so much wisdom to impart to Patrick and his team in Gulu. As this first blog by you shows, life has taught you some harsh lessons, but you’ve risen above all that and kept your sense of humor and compassion throughout. This is something that GDPU’s people need to hear. The pandemic won’t make that easy, but you’ve encountered worse. Let’s make to happen!

  • Brigid Smith

    July 1, 2020

     

    Wilson – I second what Alex said! It’s great to learn more about you and I appreciate you sharing part of your life story with us. It is very cool to see that you are working with an organization that you connect with so personally, and I am excited to get to learn from your work (whether that be from some of your “hard” skills or simply your passion of working against injustices present in this world.

  • Mary Ellen Cain

    July 7, 2020

     

    Wilson, I really admire your tenacity and strength of character to overcome not only the challenge of blindness, but the bullying and indignities that you put up with. Despite the pain of those experiences, you’ve come through them as a strong and compassionate person which we can see in your determination to help others.We look forward to more updates and information on how to support the Ugandan mask and soap-making projects this summer!

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