Friday, September 18, 2020

Deaf U on Netflix

Deaf U will debut on Netflix three weeks from today (Oct. 9). It is part of a series called 7 Incredible Real Stories The docuseries follows Gallaudet students through their daily life. Here is the trailer:

Thursday, September 17, 2020

On this day in History.. the first deaf Miss America

On this date (Sept. 17) in 1994, Heather Whitestone of Alabama became the first deaf Miss America.

History's Deaf Astronomer

On this date (Sept 17) in 1764, John Goodricke was born in the Netherlands, though he lived most of his life in England. Goodricke only survived to the age of 21, but the deaf astronomer made a major impact on his field. Working with Edward Pigott, Goodricke learned to measure the variation of light coming from stars. This would eventually lead astronomers to figure out the distance of galaxies from the earth. While still a teenager, the Royal Society of London gave him the Copley Medal, making him the youngest person to be given its highest honor. Goodricke lost his hearing after a bout with a childhood disease, which might have been scarlet fever. He studied at the first school for deaf children in the British Isles, Thomas Braidwood’s Academy for the Deaf and Dumb in Edinburgh. Goodricke went on to study for three years at the Warrington Academy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Deaf Poet Sahera Khan

Deaf poet Sahera Khan invites viewers behind the scenes of making her video BSL poem Hurts Me followed by a reading of the poem with voiceover is provided by Kuli Kohli.

This Day in History: The 1st deaf player in the NFL

Bonnie Sloan in the NFL
On this day (Sept. 16) in 1973, the first deaf player ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles. Bonnie Sloan played in four games at defensive tackle and only lasted one season, because of knee injuries, but he had made his mark at the age of 25. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was a 10th-round draft pick out of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he was the first player to bench press 500 pounds. Sloan was an All-Ohio Valley Conference defensive tackle at the college. The City of Hendersonville, Tennessee honored him by declaring a Bonnie Sloan Day. After Sloan came defensive lineman Kenny Walker. He played college ball at Nebraska and played in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman was on the roster for the 2014 Super Bowl pitting Seattle against Denver.

Deaf Woman files complaint against political group over terp

Mary Harman says she signed up for to attend a "She Should Run" event but denied her request for a sign language interpreter. "She Should Run" is a women's political organization that encorages women to run for political office. Harman has filed a complaint with the Office of Human Rights in Washington, DC. Read the details of the controversy from BuzzFeedNews.

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Businesses and organizations, STOP violating the ADA and understand your legal obligations. Stop forcing people with disabilities to explain the law to you and fight for their basic human rights to be enforced. ****PLEASE SHARE **** TRANSCRIPT: @sheshouldrun, which claims to work to get more women from ALL backgrounds to run for office, refused to provide an ASL interpreter for a public live webinar despite repeated requests. I explained to them several times that it was unlawful discrimination to refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation, but they continued denying my request. They said that they were “unable to provide an ASL interpreter,” but would try to provide live captioning. I emphasized that I needed an ASL interpreter for the webinar, as this is how I normally access conferences and webinars. When I told them I would have to file a complaint against them on the basis of discrimination with the Office for Civil Rights in D.C., they ignored me. To add insult to injury, the captioning was inaccurate and severely lagged to the point I had to leave the webinar. How can an organization claim to be for all women if they exclude women with disabilities, which make up a significant percentage of the population? Guess I’ll have to file a complaint so that other deaf/hard of hearing women won’t be subjected to such blatant discrimination by @sheshouldrun in the future. It’s 2020. Stop violating the ADA and understand your legal obligations. Stop having to make people with disabilities explain the law to you and fight for their basic rights to be enforced. [Video Description]: Mary is signing as she sits on a gray chair in front of wooden soft white blinds. She is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt with her hair tied back in a low bun, a few pieces of hair framing her face. Captioning by @angelamariaotg UPDATE - 8/15/20 - after private and public efforts to resolve the discriminatory issue failed, I filed a formal complaint against She Should Run for discrimination on the basis of disability with the D.C. Office of Human Rights.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Deaf students at Arizona school: virtual with obstacles

Sequoia Deaf School in Mesa, Arizona has more than 50 students in grades K through 12 and is offering them distant learning starting next month. KTAR radio news takes a look at some of the issues they face here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

UBC to offer ASL for credit

The University of British Columbia will offer the university's first accredited American Sign Language course for credit. It will be taught by Nigel Howard, an adjunct professor in linguistics at UBC. Read more at Global News.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Judge: White House may have to include interpreters at coronavirus briefings

The White House may have to provide ASL interpretation at its televised news briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge has ruled. The National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit over the issue on behalf of five deaf people. A hearing next Thursday will deal with the issue of how to implement the order. 
The US government had argued that ASL interpretation isn't needed because there is closed captioning on livestreams of the updates and videos of past briefings with transcripts of the briefings. In his ruling Judge James Boasberg wrote: 
Closed captioning and transcripts may constitute a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances, but not here. As another court explained in rejecting a state government’s similar arguments, these “accommodations — however well-intentioned — simply do not provide ‘meaningful access in the circumstances [presented] here.’ 
You can read the judges ruling here.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Gazes of Novice & Native Signers are Different

If it seems like a beginner and fluent signers are looking in different places when they watch someone use ASL—you are right. Eye movement indicates how well a person can understand sign language, according to a new study. The study comes out of the Center for Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Ecology (SPaCE Center) at the NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) in Rochester. Rain Bosworth, an assistant professor, and researcher found that the gaze is greatly affected by a user's language expertise. Fluent signers watch a person's face while novices focus on the hands. Bosworth said:
This fits with what we know about research that shows that signers have very good peripheral vision, especially from the lower visual field. Expert signers look at the face and utilize their peripheral vision for catching the fine details of moving handshapes.
Details of the study are published in the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. or read more about the study in Science Daily. Below is a video illustration of the results:

What the U.S. civil rights fight and Deaf history have in common

Mission Network News spoke with Mark Sorenson of DOOR International abot injustices faced by the Deaf community in the US. Sorenson says:
The Black struggle for civil rights has really had an impact on the Deaf community in many ways throughout the years. Actually, the push for Black freedom and equality began America’s journey towards becoming a true democracy. They fought for rights for Black people initially, and then that had an impact on the women’s rights movement, and eventually on disability rights efforts as well.
Read the full interview here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Network to Promote Deaf-Led Sign Language Research

Melissa Malzkuhn

Gallaudet University is looking for ways to promote Deaf-led research and innovation in sign language technology. The school is launching a professional network to support this type of research. The network is called CREST, which stands for Cultivating Research and Equity in Sign-related Technology. The National Science Foundation is providing funding and founded by Melissa Malzkuhn, who started Gallaudet's Motion Light Lab, and Lorna Quandt, the lab's science director. Quandt said in a press release:
Lorna Quandt
There is new research coming out every day in this field. Now, with CREST, we have the opportunity to bring together top researchers and resources from across the world, not only to accelerate cutting-edge technologies for the broader deaf community but most importantly to ensure they are developed authentically from the start with deaf input and representation.
Read more about it here.

Virtual Learning Brings Extra Challenges For Blind or Deaf Students

Video cueing and sign language interpretation are being offered for online classes for deaf students, according to all local school districts surveyed by NBC4 in the Washington, DC-area. “For the more than 3,000 blind or deaf students who will be attending public schools (in the DC-area) virtually this fall, distance learning creates an added complication for those students, their families and their teachers.“ Read more about what NBC4 found in their investigation here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Lou Brock's special friendship with young deaf girl

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock passed away Sunday at the age of 81. He left behind many good memories—especially for a young deaf girl he met years ago. KSDK-TV has a video report below. Or read the story here.

DC’s first Deaf-owned-and-operated restaurant opens

The opening of a Washington, DC location for Mozzeria Pizza has created some buzz in the nation's capital.  WDCW-TV has a video report below or read the story here.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Deaf prosecutor has long fought for justice

A homicide prosecutor in the Orange County District Attorney's office, was driven to help others after nothing happened when she was raped as a child. Janine Madera was left deaf, in part, to the abuse she suffered. She told the Orange County Register that this is one of the reasons she now advocates for those who have no voice: 
I didn’t get my day in court. Nobody spoke for me. I had no voice. I feel a lot of shame in myself for not ensuring justice even as my rational mind knows it is not my fault.

Read the full story here or watch the video below: