GRF’s Partner and Director of Risk & Advisory Services, Melissa Musser, CPA, CITP, CISA, will be speaking at Goodyear in October in recognition of National Disability Awareness month. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), Melissa has always had strong ties to the deaf community. She has taken this opportunity to spread the word about the rich history of deaf individuals in America, particularly in Akron, Ohio. During WWI and WWII, Akron was nicknamed the “Crossroads of the Deaf,” due to the many new jobs that rubber factories provided for deaf people. This shift not only positioned Akron as a hub for economic advancement, but also spawned a rich Deaf Culture within the community.

“Many deaf people such as my grandfather took to manufacturing jobs and built a deaf community in Akron around the Goodyear plant,” said Melissa. “I grew up in an area of the city known as ‘Ellet’, which had its start as a popular rubber worker neighborhood.”

Melissa’s grandfather was a founding member of the Akron Deaf Club and at that time, American Sign Language (ASL) had yet to become an official language. ASL was not recognized or accepted anywhere apart from these deaf clubs and churches. Those living in Akron’s Deaf Colony also went on to create athletic competitions that gained national recognition and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, such as the Goodyear Silents Football Team.

“I am a proud CODA,” said Melissa, “and I have a passion for spreading awareness about this amazing moment in history. ” This dedication to recognizing the accomplishments of deaf people is reflected by Melissa’s commitment to serving nonprofit clients. In acknowledgement of National Disability Awareness month, Melissa would like to celebrate the formation of the deaf community in Akron and the flourishing of Deaf Culture.

About GRF’s Commitment to DEI
GRF CPAs & Advisors strives to create a working environment where everyone is valued and respected for who they are. Diversity, equity and inclusiveness are at the heart of the firm’s values because we believe that our staff and culture should reflect the diversity of our clients and the world in which we live.