46- Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez _ Deaf Collective
Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez

Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez

Age - 29
New York, United States
The activist and musician fighting for inclusivity for deaf people – online and IRL
Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez

Nominated by Dazed 100er Adam Eli

Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez is listed on Google as “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s brother” and, while technically true, that doesn’t quite do justice to the rising musician, artist, LGBTQ+ activist and founder of the charitable organisation Deaf Collective. Admittedly, there’s a pretty good chance he doesn’t mind; he’s long been an outspoken advocate for the New York congresswoman, attending her swearing-in and continually voicing his support on social media.

A native New Yorker with Puerto Rican parents, Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez also shares his sister’s famed work ethic. When he lost half of his hearing aged 16, he memorised the vibrations of notes on the guitar and piano to continue composing his own original music, while helping support the family following the death of his father. This hearing loss is also what inspired Deaf Collective, which is now in the process of applying for non-profit status.

The arts collective is set to act as a gallery spotlighting deaf, queer talent, Ocasio-Cortez explains in an ongoing online fundraiser. It will also help fund grants, sign language lessons and scholarships, and share information on resources and effective allyship. 

Deaf Collective has already made a significant impact, too. In April, it partnered with TikTok to make the video-sharing platform more accessible with automated captions, and it continues to share actionable information via Instagram.

Text Thom Waite

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