2016 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient
Frank Stephens is an active spokesman for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Virginia.
As a member of his local theater group known as Artstream, Frank has acted in various original plays for the last ten years. Frank also had a feature role in the film Touched by Grace, and recently signed with a Hollywood-based talent agency. Frank has also made an occasional guest appearance on the Emmy Award winning A&E reality Show Born This Way.
Frank’s articles have been featured in publications like from the New York Times, London Daily Mail and The Huffington Post. He contributed to Amazon bestseller, Stand Up, which featured stories of outstanding young advocates.
As an advocate, Frank has spoken all over North America and Europe promoting the inclusion of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Following a few weeks of multi-media debate with political commentator, Ann Coulter, about the public use of the term “retard”, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation named him one of its “Most Extraordinary Ordinary People” of 2012. President Obama described him as a man who “writes eloquently about the pain and exclusion when others don’t accept you or treat you with the respect every human being deserves.”
In June 2016, Frank and three other self-advocates met with comedian Gary Owen to discuss a routine that was highly criticized as being abusive to people with intellectual disabilities. Because of their advocacy, Mr. Owen pulled the offensive routine from further viewing.
Frank often speaks on how lucky he feels to live in a generation where all of his accomplishments are possible for a man with Down syndrome.