When we asked Globe readers and staffers to tell us about people who deserve recognition for promoting diversity in Massachusetts, the nominations came flooding in for passionate, dedicated folks in almost every field. From the scores of worthy candidates, we singled out 12 who in very different ways — from encouraging women and people of color to run for office, to making corporate boardrooms more inclusive, to ensuring disadvantaged kids have equal access to college — are breaking down barriers and even challenging our very definition of diversity.

Sarah Honigfeld

Sarah Honigfeld has been speaking out for people with disabilities since she was a Girl Scout urging Connecticut legislators to support a bill to put closed captioning in movie theaters.

Honigfeld, who was born deaf and is now a 22-year-old student majoring in human services at Northeastern University, is still working to make the world a more inclusive place. She transformed Northeastern’s deaf club into a sign language club that includes people who can hear. She talks to Brookline elementary school students about what it’s like to be deaf, telling them, “I’m just like you guys. . . . I like football. I like purple. I like cats.” And she recently went to India for three weeks to help deaf college students learn how to get along in a hearing world.