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Photo Release: Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford Participates in Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Annual Legislative Awareness Day

Joins in Recognizing Advocates in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford attended the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s Legislative Awareness Day on Monday, October 8. This annual event and awards ceremony is an opportunity to increase awareness around legislative issues affecting the community, create an open dialogue, and recognize advocates.


“Maryland is home to 1.2 million Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and we are proud to be committed to providing equal and full access for all Marylanders,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Congratulations to all of the award recipients; they have our sincere gratitude for their important work on behalf of the Deaf community.”


Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Public Official Award, which is presented to an official who has actively supported the Deaf and hard of hearing community with actions such as providing resources, information, and support. County Executive Baker, during his time as a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, sponsored and championed legislation that originally established the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has continued to advocate for the community during his tenure in public office.

Additional honorees included:

  • Dr. Khadijat Rashid, Dean at Gallaudet University and former board member of Maryland School for the Deaf and the Maryland Association of the Deaf, receiving the 7th annual Governor’s “Kelby Brick Community Leadership” Award.
  • Streetcar 82 Brewery, the first Deaf owned brewery east of the Mississippi River, receiving the Deaf Business Award.
  • Heidi Burghardt, former president of Howard County Association of the Deaf and leader in ensuring accessibility within county government, receiving the Civil Engagement Award.
  • Sheryl Cooper, founder and director of the Deaf Studies program at Towson University, and board member of the Maryland School for the Deaf receiving the Outstanding Ally Award.
  • Jamie Pope, tireless advocate for DeafBlind accessibility, receiving the Spirit of the Office Award.
  • Zainab Alkebsi, policy counsel for the National Association for the Deaf and former Deputy Director of the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, receiving the Director’s Award.
  • Deborah Nathanson, leader in employment and entrepreneurship policy initiatives, including the first Deaf Business Summit in the country that was hosted at the statewide level, receiving the Spirit of the Deaf Ecosystem Award.