(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the appointment of Kari Cooke as the inaugural Director of the Office of Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing. Director Cooke has an established career in policy development and community engagement through her work at the Center for Disability Rights, National Black Deaf Advocates, and the U.S. Department of Labor affiliate programs. Director Cooke specializes in working with under-served populations, including but not limited to deaf youth, veterans experiencing homelessness, and formerly incarcerated persons. She also previously served as a Vice President of programs at Communications Service for the Deaf and as an Assistant Dean at Dartmouth College.
Director Cooke is committed to community engagement, and has expanded her coalition-building impact with community and governmental groups such as the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Media Center, International Deaf Education, Advocacy, & Leadership, New Leaders Council, and the Stagen Leadership Academy, where she is currently a fellow. Director Cooke was recognized for her advocacy, having been appointed by New York Governor Cuomo to the New York State Independent Living Council, along with her work as the inaugural Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for NBDA. In 2014, she was appointed to the Obama Administration’s FCC Disability Advisory Council. A speaker with TEDx, a U.S. Delegate with the United Nations-ILYA, and a member of the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, Director Cooke is dedicated to using a liberation ethic to address societal transformation and co-founded the Black Deaf Womxn’s Development Foundation.
The Mayor also announced the formation of the Advisory Committee to the Office on Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing. In the coming days and weeks, Director Cooke will reach out to community groups and leaders, residents can continue providing ideas and feedback on the Offices’ website, which will be online this week.
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