2021 AccessAbility Award Recipient: Microsoft - Jessica Rafuse



[Jessica]: Hello, I'm Jessica Rafuse. I'm a white woman with long blonde hair and I'm wearing a pale pink shirt with black flowers. I'm sitting here in my home office and there's a bookshelf behind me. I lead strategic partnerships and policy for accessibility at Microsoft. And wow, what an honor. Thank you so much to Helen Keller Services for this tremendous recognition as the first annual first annual AccessAbility Awards, knowing all of the amazing companies, nonprofits, individuals who are DeafBlind, who have accomplished so much, we are so grateful to all of those who have paved the way for the work we do in accessibility at Microsoft. And there's really so much more that we need to accomplish to truly bridge the disability divide with, and for people who are DeafBlind, blind, and low vision, we renewed our commitment to accessibility this year because the reality is that people with disabilities are being left behind even more so considering the impact of COVID-19 on the disability communities, the disability divide is expanding and digital accessibility has never been more important. And this is also really personal for me. I am a part of this cool gang of people with disabilities. I have muscular dystrophy and I use a power wheelchair. I know that disability is a strength and that disabled talent brings so much innovation to our work. At Microsoft, we will not stop pushing the boundaries of what technology can do to empower people with disabilities to achieve more, but we need your help. So thank you to each of you who is blind, low vision, DeafBlind , everyone who has called our disability answer desk, who has been a part of a disability user study, or just giving us feedback on accessibility. This feedback is a gift and the disability feedback in particular, it's the pixie dust that will make our products, our company, our culture soar. Lastly, happy birthday to the late, the great, the profoundly impactful Helen Keller Together, we blow out the candles and wish you all a fantastic DeafBlind Awareness Week. So from all of us at Microsoft, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.