Francis Refan Phiri

Francis Phiri was born in Zambia, and lost his hearing at 12. He started a non-profit, and is an ASL teacher and organizer for Deaf Night Out and ASL Meet-ups.

Nominator: “Francis is an advocate for early educational opportunities for deaf children and their families, both here in the Bay Area and in his home country of Zambia. […] He teaches American Sign Language classes at DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency in San Leandro). [He] also started a foundation in Zambia, called “Give Back to the Community, Zambia” where he works with the government and NGO’s to promote early education and communication, for children and their families … Francis is a dynamic, positive person who is involved as an advocate and teacher … He has had a great impact on my family’s all-encompassing approach to deafness.”

A smiling African American man with very short hair and a neat moustache signs and smiles. The blue background is almost the same color as his green shirt and draws attention to his face and hand.
Francis Refan Phiri by Karen Ridge, mixed media, 11 x 15 inches, 2019

IMAGE: A smiling African American man with very short hair and a neat moustache signs and smiles. The blue background is almost the same color as his green shirt and draws attention to his face and hand. 

Karen Ridge from Artful Steps is a passionate and decisive artist, and a current events enthusiast. Maui and Rodney (her dog and brother, respectively) are recurring subjects of her work, and she often examines the business side to her art endeavors.