A bright blue background with a shiny gold trophy and shiny gold stars flowing out. In bright purple and pink "Marilyn J. Smith Inspirational Award" underneath in black "NOW OPEN / Deadline to Nominate is March 11, 2022"

For a video description and transcript, click here!


This is a distinguished award that is named after Marilyn J. Smith, the founder of ADWAS. The ADWAS team desires to recognize individuals in the state of Washington, who have inspired others by their work of dedicated service, serving as role models, giving hope and inspiration to others in the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, and late deafened communities. This is a statewide award and nominees must be currently active in the Washington state Deaf and DeafBlind communities.

Award Criteria

Nominees must possess all 5 qualities:

  1. Dedicated:  This person “stands out” in their service to individuals in the Deaf and/or DeafBlind communities. They have personally contributed time, energy, and effort on the mission to improve the quality of life for individuals within the Deaf and/or DeafBlind community.
  2. Visionary:  This person creatively imagines a future without oppression or violence. This person is a powerful avenue for change, thinking outside of the “box”.
  3. Mission-Centered: This person actively empowers marginalized members of the Deaf community (including but not limited to Deaf women, Black Deaf, Indigenous Deaf, Deaf People of color, DeafDisabled, Deafplus, DeafBlind, LGBTQ Deaf, and Deaf immigrants and refugees) and works to turn their vision of a more equitable future into reality.

  4. Collaborative: This person values the importance of collaboration both within and outside of the Deaf and DeafBlind Communities.

  5. Inspirational: This person has an unwavering passion that is contagious to those around them. Their work in the Deaf and/or DeafBlind community inspires others to be passionate about creating change in their respective communities.

How to Nominate

Answer the questions on the Nomination Form, either by written response or making a VLOG. Send to by Friday, March 11, 2022.


All nominations must be sent to by Friday, March 11, 2022.

Award Announcement

We will announce the 2022 MJS Inspirational Award Winner at our free Pathway to Healing event, which will take place via Zoom on Friday, March 25, 2022. If interested in joining us, click here!