Brooklyn & Long Island, NY (June 21, 2021) – Helen Keller Services (HKS), a national non-profit working with individuals who are blind, have vision loss, are DeafBlind and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive, today announced the first annual “AccessAbility Awards,” recognizing companies, non-profit organizations and individuals doing work to support the individuals who are DeafBlind, blind or have low vision in a variety of ways. The Awards are timed to coincide with both the birthday of Helen Keller and DeafBlind Awareness Week, on June 27 to July 3.

The Awards will be presented in a special virtual ceremony on June 30, 2021 at 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. EST and broadcast on the Helen Keller Services Facebook page and YouTube page.

The recipients of the inaugural set of awards are: 

  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for its outstanding work in providing accessible accomodations to first-time casted DeafBlind actor Robert Tarango in the Oscar®-nominated film Feeling Through during the 93rd Oscars® ceremony
  • Microsoft, for its exceptional commitment towards accessibility when developing products and services, and by doubling down on disability inclusion throughout the company and empowering others to adopt similar best practices
  • UsableNet, for its work in improving website accessibility and its commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Sunrise Credit Services, for making diversity and inclusivity a priority by providing training and employment opportunities to people who are blind, DeafBlind and have low vision
  • Be My Eyes, for its exceptional services in making the world more accessible for people who are blind through its network of volunteers

“We have witnessed the progress towards greater accessibility and inclusivity for and among the communities we work with, but there is still a great deal more of work to be done,” said Sue Ruzenski, CEO of Helen Keller Services. “It is our honor to be celebrating our partners who are using their talents and resources to make our society more accessible and inclusive through their services, practices, products and workforce diversity efforts.”

Larry Kinitsky, Chairman of HKS added, “The companies we are recognizing have made significant contributions to improving the everyday life of those who are DeafBlind, blind and have low vision. We are truly thankful that so many companies are working towards improved accessibility and look forward to more innovation in the future.”

About Helen Keller Services:

Helen Keller Services’ mission is to enable individuals who are blind, DeafBlind, have low vision, and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive in their community of choice. HKS offers services and programs through two divisions: Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youths and Adults and Helen Keller Services for the Blind. For more information, please visit

Jasmin Kaur

Related Articles