Jessalyn Akerman-Frank, St. Paul, Minnesota
Jessalyn Akerman-Frank is on a mission to advance equity and access for all Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans through education, engagement, and advocacy. She is one of the founders of Deaf Equity and the Annual Deaf LGBTQ+ Awards Program and is a pioneer in closing gaps in the systems that provide services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Her peers say she is recognized locally and nationally for her kindness, compassion, creative thinking, and ability to form beneficial partnerships. A community builder, she hosts an annual cookout that brings together more than 400 Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing people to build connections and share resources.