Sunday, October 29, 2017

Virgin Photoshops Implant out of Ad

here are the two photos in question
Virgin Active South Africa health clubs is apologizing after removing the cochlear implant from a model in a promotional photograph it posted on Instagram. Simone Botha Welgemoed got the implant before she was two years old. The ballerina was crowned Miss Deaf South Africa fives years ago and is an active deaf advocate in that country. In response to the controversy, a Virgin spokesperson said:
“We issued an immediate apology to Simone. We had a good heart-to-heart meeting with her. We 100% accept that the action of photo-shopping the image is not in line with our values as a business, nor in keeping with the welcome we extend to everyone. We got it wrong and we realise that.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Making Room for Deaf Performers in Hollywood

The New York Times takes a look at the struggles deaf actors have had in Hollywood in an article that focuses on Millicent Simmonds, who stars in the film Wonderstruck. Read it here.

Website ADA Compliance put on the Federal Gov.'s Back Burner

The Department of Justice has put the issue website compliance with ADA law on its "inactive list." New regulations had been scheduled to start next year but the issue has been set aside for now. The Pepper Hamilton law firm tells its clients, "There is no longer an imminent expectation that the DOJ will provide new guidance regarding what type of private website formatting or accommodations must be provided to users in order to comply with the ADA. In fact, the DOJ’s newly professed lack of interest appears to weigh against an assumption that the ADA applies to websites." You can read more here.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Marlee Matlin honored in Israel

Oscar Winning Deaf Actress Marlee Matlin took her first trip to Israel recently. She was honored for disability advocacy and spoke with i24 News about life in Hollywood and her Jewish roots.

Wonderstruck's Deaf Breakout Star

Sorenson VRS has put together a video about Millicent Simmonds. She's the deaf actress starring in the movie Wonderstruck. The video has no audio but there are captions.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Leader for DEAF Inc.

DEAF Inc. based in St. Louis has a new leader. Ernest E. Garrett III will take the reigns of the nonprofit working to improve interactions between the Deaf community and the hearing community. Garrett is the former superintendent of the Missouri School for the Deaf. He was the first deaf superintendent of the school. Read more about him here. Below is a video announcement about the appointment.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Meet the Child Star of Wonderstruck

Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds has made a big impression since her breakout performance in the new movie Wonderstruck. In the film, she plays a 12-year-old deaf girl living in the 1927 New Jersey who runs away from home. People Magazine offers "5 Things to Know about Millicent" here and offers a video interview here.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Meet Deaf Artist Bex

image from Convo Relay youtube video
Bex is a "28-year-old San Francisco Bay Area resident who believes people with disabilities face discrimination and lack of access – despite the existence of the Americans with Disabilities Act – and that people with disabilities incur additional costs that create barriers to art training," the Huffington Post reports. She says, “There is a very strong sense of abjection in my work. I believe it rises not just from being queer, but also from being disabled, as well as Jewish – the implicit knowledge that just by having the audacity to merely exist, you are loathed."  Read the full story here with a review of Bex art and some samples here or visit her website here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Scientists say Protein may be key to Gene Therapy for Deaf Patients

Researchers say they've "developed a better way to test a specific protein that is essential for hearing" and it has to do with particular genes. They tell Oregon's Fox 12, "There's a lot of interest in this particular gene because it seems to be at the epicenter of the focus of general hearing loss. It seems to be a bit of a one trick pony in that it exclusively controls hearing and balance."


Monday, October 16, 2017

Wonderstruck & the Deaf Community

Todd Haynes, director of the new film Wonderstruck did research to understand the history of Deaf culture in the U.S. He tells NPR:
It really wasn't until a leaven article that came out in 1960 that talked about sign language and described all the integrity of this language. And a new era of appreciation for what sign language was was ushered in. And I think you see in "Wonderstruck" both sides of that divide is played out in the two stories that parallel the film because Ben, the little boy in the '70s, also becomes deaf in the course of the film.
"In the movie Wonderstruck, children in different time periods embark on quests to find themselves," reports NPR. "Director Todd Haynes explains the film's artistic choices and its significance to the deaf community" in his NPR here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Deaf Actors Sign and Sing on Broadway

NBC News spoke with Sandra Frank, lead actress in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, a show that combines deaf and hearing actors in single roles.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Billboard campaign aims to connect deaf to religion

A Christian group in Western Michigan has launched a billboard campaign to reach the deaf with their message. But the billboards have caused some confusion. WOOD-TV has a video report.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Woman who shot deaf man convicted of murder

Bexar County Sheriff's Office
A San Antonio woman could get life in prison now that jurors have convicted her of killing a deaf man. Michelle Chase shot him on the porch of her home last year. Read the full story from My San Antonio here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Arson at Resource Center for the Deaf

"A local resource center for the deaf has been targeted, damaged, and defaced for the fourth time this year," reports KATU-TV. Read the full story here.

Deaf comedian shares his experiences with hearing loss

image from
D.J. Demers says, “So many people out there don’t realize how common hearing loss is. I want to normalize it and let people in the hard-of-hearing community know that they’re not alone.” He spoke at Indiana University as part of his “Here to Hear” tour. He is giving stand-up comedy shows to students at 20 universities in 30 days. You'll find the locations here. Read more about his stop at IU in the school's student newspaper here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Opinion: How Congress is hacking away at ADA law

Law professor Samuel Bagenstos is concerned about a bill before Congress called the "ADA Education and Reform Act. He writes in a Reuters' commentary:
Rather than protecting legitimate business interests, the bill pending in Congress would give a reprieve to enterprises that have had 27 years to comply with the law but have not yet done so. That is a betrayal of the basic promise of the ADA – that people with disabilities would be treated as equal citizens, with full access to America’s civic and economic life.
Bagenstos once led the Department of Justice’s disability rights enforcement as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Read his full commentary here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Deaf West brings "Our Town" to Life

image from
Deaf West Theatre is putting on the show "Our Town" Pasadena Playhouse through Oct. 22 in Pasadena, California. Our town first debuted in 1938 and was honored with a Pulitzer Prize that same year. It's the story of a fictional town called Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in three acts: The first act describes the daily lives of the townsfolk, the second act is about love and marriage, and the last act concerns death. What makes these performances unique is that Deaf West splits some roles between speaking and signing actors. There's a review of the show in the LA Times here and and more information about performances