"I have always believed that when you have a voice, you have an obligation to use that voice to empower others."

They say that with success comes responsibility.  Today we’re going to put the spotlight on two young men who don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Connor Long and John Franklin Stephens have both starred in films and both lend their voice to important advocacy campaigns as well.

John Franklin (Frank) Stephens

Frank Stephens and Amber House from Touched by Grace

Frank is known for playing Ben in the 2014 film Touched by Grace opposite Amber House as Grace.

But when a strong voice is needed to combat the ignorance and bullying of others, Frank is also known to step up to the plate.

For example, in 2012 when Ann Coulter used the R-word in a tweet during a presidential debate, Frank wrote a strongly worded and effective open letter that was published by Tim Shriver on the Special Olympics website.

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

To date, the letter has received over 6,000 comments on the original post and has been re-posted and re-shared countless times.

When public outcry caught up with “comedian” Gary Owens over an offensive skit in his Showtime routine, Frank’s third piece appeared in the Huffington Post.

So, what’s wrong with this bit? Well, there’s the obvious that it’s not really very funny. More to the point, it depends entirely on making fun of people who almost certainly are not in a position to defend themselves. – John Franklin Stephens

For these, and many more advocacy efforts, Frank is being honored with the 2016 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award from the Global Down Syndrome Association at their “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself” event in November.

Connor Long

Connor’s filmography is impressive – and when you see the list of awards he’s won, you might wonder how he has enough time in the day!

Connor Long's achievements

Recently, he appeared at the world premiere of Learning to Drive – one of his latest films –

Learning to Drive premiere

and rode in the 27th Courage Classic Tour to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation.

“I ride to raise funds for important research into Down Syndrome that will not only possibly help me, but millions of others who show courage every day,” Long said. – Denver7News

He’ll be accepting a 2016 Catalyst Award from the Arc of the United States next week, and it’s just been announced that he’s a 2016 Rise Award honoree.

As you can see, these two men stay busy and involved – and people are recognizing their contributions, not just as actors, but as important self-advocates as well.

Congratulations and THANK YOU!  Connor and Frank –

from The Road We’ve Shared


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