WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the two honorees who will receive the prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award at a special event on April 19, 2023, at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Virginia.
This year’s recipients will be the Honorable Tony Coelho, former California congressman and champion for disability rights who led the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and Charter Communications, for its breakthrough innovations in expanding inclusive media for audiences who are blind and low vision.
“Both of our honorees this year embody the heart and passion of Helen Keller in their efforts to create a more inclusive and just world for people with disabilities,” said AFB Board Chair Debbie Dennis. “Their contributions to society not only expanded equal access for people who are blind and low vision, but they continue to remind us all that the desire to dream something new is alive and well in the age of digital inclusion.”
Over three decades have passed since Coelho departed Congress. But he has never stopped advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. He went on to found the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation at the Loyola Marymount University School of Law and has continued to play a major role advising NGO and government leaders in Washington on ways to move forward the dreams planted in the landmark legislation. He has recently worked with AFB on expanding the ADA into the digital age.
“For sixty years, serving this remarkable community has been my ministry and so I am incredibly honored to receive the Hellen Keller Achievement award and all that it represents,” said Congressman Coelho. “But I am also deeply humbled to consider the role I’ve played in improving the lives of individuals with a disability aligns with the vision of the icon that is Hellen Keller.”
Charter Communications continues to drive forward the spirit of digital inclusion by finding innovative ways film and television can become more accessible for millions of consumers who are blind and low vision. Breakthroughs like their Spectrum Access app, which is free and available to anyone in the U.S., allow media with audio description to be accessed not just in the comfort of the home, but anywhere the audience goes. From being able to control who hears the audio description, to streaming it through Bluetooth hearing aids, and even reading captions through electronic Braille displays, Charter has made the user experience more inclusive by making audio description both functional and convenient as the entertainment industry continues to change the ways people consume media.
“Charter is dedicated to inclusivity across the communities we serve,” said Steve Raymond, Charter’s Vice President of Accessibility. “Our commitment to accessibility, both in the workplace and in the products and services we provide to millions of customers, is fundamental to how we operate as a business. We are honored to be recognized with the Helen Keller Achievement Award as a result of our efforts.”
About the Helen Keller Achievement Awards
For more than 40 years, Helen Keller was AFB’s leading ambassador, inspiring millions of people around the world. Since 1994, AFB has honored her legacy by recognizing exceptional individuals and organizations that expand possibilities for those who are blind or low vision. Artists and musicians, including Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, have been honored, as well as leading corporations such as Apple, Comcast, Google, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Marriott International, and Netflix. Visit the Helen Keller Achievement Awards page to learn more about this year’s April 19th awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.
About the American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind, and low vision. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. In addition to publishing the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, the essential professional resource for information about visual impairment in the field, AFB is also the proud steward of the accessible Helen Keller Archive, honoring the legacy of our most famous ambassador. To learn more, visit www.afb.org.
SOURCE American Foundation for the Blind