Friday, September 28, 2018

Funding for Deaf Businesses

Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) launched "the first-ever social impact fund and incubator for Deaf-owned and operated businesses" last year. The second round opens to applicants the coming Thursday (Oct. 4). Whoever gets selected for the Social Venture Fund will "have access to significant resources, including capital investment, mentoring and leadership training." For more information, click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

18 years ago today: Murder at Gallaudet

It was on this day (Sept 27)  in 2000 that Joseph Mesa, Jr. beat Eric Plunkett to death in his Gallaudet dorm room. The killing put the school in a state of panic, with some students withdrawing from the school rather than living in a situation where they knew a murderer was living among them. The terror came to an end in February of the next year when Mesa turned himself into police-but not before he killed again. Mesa stabbed Benjamin Varner in his Gallaudet dorm room more than dozen times. In July of 2002, the 22-year-old from Guam pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, telling jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves that told him in sign language to kill. Jurors convicted Mesa on all counts and a Washington, DC judge sentenced him to six life terms without the possibility of parole. Mesa began serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high security facility.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Police: Sex Tape at Deaf School?

Illinois State Police are looking into whether a sex video was shot at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. It's reported to have happened in April. The video in questions was, until recently available on an adult website. Read more on the story from the State Journal-Register here.

On this date... 27 years ago

On Sept 26, 1991, a major TV show debuted that—for the first time—featured a deaf or hard of hearing actor in a lead role. The NBC police drama Reasonable Doubts ran from 1991–1993 and starred Academy-Award winner Marlee Matlin as Tess Kaufman, a prosecutor who fought for the rights of the accused. She portrayed a lawyer who happened to be deaf—instead of just a deaf lawyer. In 1994, she joined the cast of Picket Fences for a couple of seasons. The Seinfeld TV show made a nod to Reasonable Doubts during an episode called The Pitch. When Jerry and George visit NBC they sit under a poster showing Mark Harmon and Marlee Matlin was on the wall of Seinfeld episode.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

DiMarco: ‘Pretending to Be Deaf Is Not Ok’

A Netflix original is getting heat from Dancing with the Stars champion Nyle DiMarco. The deaf model say a joke in the film about being deaf isn't appropriate.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Horror Film Casting Blasted

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin and model Nyle DiMarco are among those in the Deaf community criticizing a new horror film called The Silence. A hearing actress was cast in a deaf role. Director John Leonetti told The Hollywood Reporter that the hearing actress has “flawless” signing and an almost “innate sense of what it’s like being a deaf person.” The film comes out in December. Read more here.

Texas May Dump Helen Keller from Curriculum

Texas plans to remove Helen Keller from the state's social studies curriculum. Haben Girma, who is deaf-blind, makes a plea to keep her story a part of the in an opinion piece first published in the Washington Post. She writes:
Teaching students about disability through the stories of people such as Keller prepares them to be better citizens, better friends and better family members. Keller’s optimism, hard work and commitment to justice inspire them to the same virtues. Texas will make a final decision in November. We have time to educate the state’s Board of Education on the importance of keeping Keller in the curriculum. Keller herself would urge people to stay optimistic: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”
Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Study: Older Adults Show Poor brain function with Implants

A study out of Antwerp University in Belgium finds cochlear implant recipients over the age of 55 have "significantly poorer cognitive function than their normal-hearing counterparts." Researchers say this finding shows "cochlear implants cannot fully compensate for this deterioration in brain function" due to dementia or natural cognitive decline. Details of the study are in Publishing in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Read more in Science Daily here.

Copies of Silent Garden given out in Fresno

Deaf educators in Fresno passed out the latest version of a book called The Silent Garden: a parent's guide to raising a deaf child. The book was written by Fresno State professor Dr. Paul Ogden and he was on hand as well. ABC-30 has a video report below. There's a text version of the story here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The First Deaf Player in the NFL

The first deaf player in the NFL ran onto the field for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. The first game that season was played on this date (Sept. 16) against the Philidelphia 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. Sloan was born on June 1, 1948 in Lebanon , TN and attended Austin Peay State. The next deaf player in the NFL was defensive lineman Kenny Walker who played college ball at Nebraska and then in 31 games for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992. the third deaf player is Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman who entered the NFL in 2012, becoming the first deaf person to play offense in the league. Coleman is on the roster for today's Super Bowl. Read more about Bonnie in a Fox Sports article here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ICE wants deaf & disabled man deported after decades in U.S.

photo credit: Diane Newman
ICE said it was planning to deport Francis Anwana by today but has decided to delay his deportation after an outcry from immigration advocates. Anwana came to the US at the age of 13 on a student visa. Anwana "was deaf, couldn't talk, and had cognitive disabilities, enrolling at the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint." He is now 48 years old. ICE gave him less than a week's notice that he would be sent back to a country to which he has no ties. The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center says the decision would be a death sentence for Anwana because of his severe disabilities. The group says Anwana doesn't understand what is happening to him. Read more about him from Michigan's NPR radio group
here.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bison Decide What to Do During the National Anthem

The Gallaudet University football team has been wrestling with what to do when the national anthem is played before Bison games. Matthew Davis writes:
The team’s head coach, Chuck Goldstein, wanted his players to think about their protest. "These situations help us come together," he relayed in simultaneous communication, signing and speaking at the same time. 'You can understand each person on the team, because each person is different. You’re from different places—different people have different struggles in life. He encouraged his players to discuss why they protested and if they could find a way to protest “together.”
Read the full story at The New Yorker here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Marlee Matlin talks about on her new show

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin appeared on KTLA-TV this morning to talk about her special Deaf Out Loud. There are no captions and KTLA misspelled her last name in the "lower third" but she did talk about the premieres of the show, which is September 12 on A&E Network.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

“Bummy” Burstein dies at 91

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein has died. He worked tirelessly in the deaf community for 57 years—even after he retired. He died at the age of 91 in Riverside, California, where the student center at the local deaf school carries his name. Burnstein was the certified Professional Parliamentarian for the National Association of the Deaf and the author of two books. His work for Gallaudet University led the Board of Trustees to rename the Gallaudet Leadership Institute after him—the Gerald "Bummy" Burstein Leadership Institute. He first taught for 15 years at the Minnesota School for the Deaf before moving to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. Burstein got his nickname "Bummy" from his love of the Brooklyn Dodgers who were often referred to as “Dem Bums.” Here's a video featuring Berstein as he explains how he brought visual applause from France to America.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Marlee Matlin Produced Docu

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin is an executive producer of a new documentary called "Deaf Out Loud." The A&E special premieres September 12. The film is about "three deaf families as they raise their children in a hearing world." Here's a preview.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Austin Deaf Club Robbed

Someone broke into the building where the Austin Deaf Club was storing equipment in south Austin and stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment. KXAN has a video report.

"Hearing Impaired" Law in NY

The state of New York will no longer use "hearing impaired" in state law. Governer Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law on Monday. The bill requires any reference in state law to "hearing impaired" to be changed to "deaf or hard of hearing." Utah and New Hampshire already have such a law on the books. The new law was sponsored by state senator Terrence Murphy of Yorktown and Assemblyman Steve Englebright of Suffolk County. Read the text of the bill here.

A First For Gallaudet Sports

It was a historic night in Danville, Kentucky. Last night was the first time a Gallaudet University sports team has played in the state—aside from the track-and-field teams playing at an independent championship event in Berea. But the soccer game between Gallaudet and Centre College did not go as planned: There was a wait of more than an hour-and-a-half over lightning concerns. When the game finally started, Centre College dominated, winning 5-0. Next up for Gally: Spalding University in Louisville on Sunday.