2021 Focus on
People Awards

Adult category


Destiny Lopez

Waterbury, CT

A multimedia storyteller and creative strategist whose hearing loss was diagnosed in elementary school, Destiny is passionate about creating accessible and inclusive media that amplifies the voices of marginalized communities. Her award-winning global research on media accessibility proposes three ways to make film, television and live theater more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Her op-eds and research have been featured and mentioned in many publications including Teen Vogue, Bustle and I-D Magazine. Through her advocacy and involvement in communities like the NYU Center for Disability Studies, Destiny continues to spark conversations on inaccessibility and encourage allies to join the fight for a more inclusive society.


Thomas Withrow

Austin, TX

A five-time medalist in the Deaflympics, Thomas credits the USA Deaf Track and Field program (USADTF) with empowering him to dream big and reach the highest level of his sport. As president of the USADTF for 23 years, he pays that opportunity forward, helping deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes achieve their personal best. A former men's and women's track and field head coach for Gallaudet University, he strives to provide athletes with the tools they need to succeed not only in competition but in life. Thomas and his wife Heather, who are raising a DeafBlind child, have contributed considerably to the study and development of those born DeafBlind through sharing their family’s personal experiences.


Trip Neil

Dallas, TX

Trip, who was diagnosed with hearing loss as an infant, is a successful Dallas-based investment banker, and former captain of the US Deaf Men’s National Soccer Team. There’s no doubt that his most passionate investment is building success for the fearless athletes who compete as part of the US Deaf Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams. A past president of the USA Deaf Soccer Association, Trip continues to work with the nonprofit on operating USADSA and its men’s and women’s deaf national teams. He also serves as a board member of Powersense, joining with other volunteers to create communities that connect and empower children with hearing loss with impactful knowledge, inspiring stories and fun experiences.

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