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Kari Cooke

Communications Director, National Black Deaf Advocates

Policy Analyst, The Center for Disability Rights, Inc.


Kari Cooke is a known leader on Disability Issues, and has been appointed by NY Governor Cuomo to the State Independent Living Council, where she is able to advise legislative agenda items that affect New Yorkers with disabilities.


She is the Communications Director for National Black Deaf Advocates, and recently started a new position as a Policy Analyst with The Center for Disability Rights, Inc.

Kari Cooke specializes in Community Engagement and Coalition Management. Her background spans work within higher education, governmental, and non-profit settings specializing in under-served populations (youth with disabilities, homeless veterans, formerly incarcerated job seekers, etc.). As a result of her community outreach she expanded her coalition-building impact, and is involved with colleagues and coalitions in local community and governmental groups such as Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women's Media Center, Senator Gillibrand Symposium on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and was selected as a Fellow of the New Leaders Council.


After serving as the youngest member of the Board of Directors of NYC Black Deaf Advocates as the Director of Community Relations, Cooke was appointed as the Nationwide Communications Director where she handles media management, public relations, and government affairs. By extension of her role she also works with the executive team on strategic communications and funds development. She is a frequent speaker on Deaf Rights and Advocacy, serving on the Biennial State of Black Deaf America panel.


She continues her advocacy having been appointed by Governor Cuomo’s Department of Education to the New York State Independent Living Council where she is able to advise policy agenda items that affect New Yorkers with disabilities, along with her work as a Policy Analyst for the Center for Disability Rights. She finds time to continue her passion for combining advocacy, awareness, and education by working as an adjunct 

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