WASHINGTON, January 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the names of the two winners who will receive the prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award at a special event on April 19, 2023at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Virginia.

    This year’s recipients will be the Honorable Tony Coelhoold California congressman and disability rights champion who led the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Available); and Charter Communicationsfor his groundbreaking innovations in expanding inclusive media for blind and visually impaired audiences.

    “Our two winners 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 Chairman Debbie Dennis. “Their contributions to society have not only expanded equal access for blind and visually impaired people, but they continue to remind us all that the desire to dream something new is alive and well in the age of digital inclusion.”

    More than three decades have passed since Coelho left Congress. But he never stopped defending the rights of people with disabilities. He then founded the Coelho Center for Disability RightsPolicy & Innovation at Loyola Marymount University law school and continued to play a major role in advising NGO and government leaders in Washington on ways to advance the dreams planted in historic legislation. He recently worked with AFB on expanding 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’m also deeply honored to consider that the role I’ve played in improving the lives of people with disabilities aligns with the vision of the icon who is bright basement.”

    Charter Communications continues to advance the spirit of digital inclusion by finding innovative ways to make film and television more accessible for millions of blind and visually impaired consumers. Breakthroughs like their Spectrum Access Application, which is free and available to anyone in the United States, enables access to media with audio description not just from the comfort of home, but wherever the public goes. Whether it’s controlling who hears audio description, streaming it through Bluetooth hearing aids, or even reading captions through electronic braille displays, Charter has made the user experience more inclusive by making audio description both functional and practical as the entertainment industry continues to change the way people consume media.

    “The Charter is dedicated to inclusivity in 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 company. We are honored to be recognized with the Helen Keller Achievement Award as a result of our efforts.”

    About the Helen Keller Awards of Excellence

    For more than 40 years, Helen Keller was AFB’s main ambassador, inspiring millions of people around the world. Since 1994, AFB has honored its legacy by recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations that expand opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Artists and musicians, including Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, have been honored, along with major companies such as Apple, Comcast, Google, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Marriott International and Netflix. Visit the Helen Keller Awards of Excellence Page to know more about this year April 19e awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in ArlingtonVirginia.

    About the American Foundation for the Blind

    Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit organization that creates a world without limits for people who are blind and visually impaired. LBS engages 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 Helen Keller Accessible Archive, honoring the legacy of our Ambassador the most famous. To learn more, visit www.afb.org.

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    SOURCE American Foundation for the Blind

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