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:


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Deaf school faces allegations from former students & staff

More than a dozen former students and staff spanning decades say students "were verbally berated by leaders and shamed publicly" at Georgia's Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf.  Read the full story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press here.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Deaf-owned pizzeria opens near Gally

The deaf-owned pizzeria Mozzeria, is opening a location in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The new outlet will be close to the campus of Gallaudet University. Mozzeria founders Melody and Russ Stein met while they were students at Gallaudet.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The challenges faced by the deaf during the pandemic

NBC-6 in Miami takes a look in a video report at the challenges faced by the deaf during the pandemic #deaf

Thursday, September 3, 2020

A first for a deaf teacher in Ohio

Anthony Coy-Gonzalez
A teacher from the Ohio School for the Deaf has been named that state’s teacher of the year. Anthony Coy-Gonzalez teaches upper elementary students at the school in Columbus. This is the first time an Ohio School for the Deaf teacher has received the honor. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said: 
I’m blown away by Anthony Coy-Gonzalez’s commitment to his students and their success. He models persistence, hard work, positive attitude, and civic-mindedness. He brings an energy and enthusiasm to the classroom that is infectious not only among his students but among his colleagues as well.  
Read more about the honor from the Ohio Department of Education here

(image from the Ohio Dept of Education)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Service Animal Rules

What are the rules for service animals? Seattle's KING-5 has a video report (or read the story here).

A Push For Diversity Among Deaf Interpreters

The Texas Standard radio show reports that a "disproportionately small number of deaf interpreters are people of color...Nationwide, 87% of interpreters are white, while only 13% are people of color, based on a 2018 report." This has lead to a diversity push among deaf interpreters. Texas Standard has an audio report here and there is an accompanying text article but no transcript of the audio. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

ASL & Implants

A professor of deaf education and a researcher at the University of Tennessee make their case for why they believe sign language is vital for all deaf babies, regardless of cochlear implant plans here. Kimberly Wolbers and Leala Holcomb write: 
It is a misconception that learning sign language hinders spoken language development for implanted children. Research shows the opposite to be true. Deaf children of deaf parents, whose first language is sign language, end up having better spoken language skills once they are implanted than deaf children of hearing parents who did not learn sign language.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Remembering “Bummy” Burstein

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein died on this date (Aug. 31) in 2018 at the age of 91 in Riverside, California. Bummy is worth remembering for his tireless work on behalf of the deaf community even after he retired. 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.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Mask project for deaf community in Boston

Boston Lyric Opera is working with its costume shop partner, CostumeWorks, to producer clear-front face masks for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The effort is getting funding from the city of Boston. More than 1,800 masks will be made and donated or sold at a discount. Read more about it in the Boston Herald here.

Why people are protesting at MSD

The Fredrick News-Post takes a look at why parents and alumni are protesting at the Maryland School for the Deaf in a story you can read here.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Protesters gather at Deaf School

Protesters gathered yesterday at the Maryland School for the Deaf calling for superintendent James Tucker to be fired. The group calls themselves the Maryland School for the Deaf Survivors. The group posted some video of the gathering on their Facebook page.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Deaf & Blind school adopting to state health measures

The Montana School for the Deaf and Blind is adapting to masks and social distancing during the fall term. KRTV has two video reports below or read the story here.

White House responds to lawsuit calling for terps at briefings

The White House is rejecting calls for it to provide on-screen ASL interpretation of its COVID-19 briefings. The National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit over interpreters and Justice Department lawyers responded with claims that basically say, it is just too inconvenient to includes interpreters—the briefing room is small, it is hard to move the podium, maybe the television networks wouldn't include the interpreters in the screenshot, etc. Read more on the legal wranglings from DC radio WTOP here

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Deaf students in Wichita

KSN-TV takes a look at how remote learning will impact the more than 50 deaf and hard of hearing students in Wichita public schools. Watch the video report below or read the story here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Kansas deaf community pushes for access

The pandemic has made it all the more apparent that the deaf community often lack access to information, education amid pandemic. The Emporia Gazette takes a look at this struggle in Kansas here.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Arizona state schools start the fall with online learning

Students at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are learning to navigate through online classes. "We're all longing for that day when we can see the faces and hear those voices and see those smiles," the principal at the ASDB Tucson campus told KJZZ. Read the full story here.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

What inspires an Australian deaf-blind artist to paint

Australia deaf-blind Artist Joseph Formosa uses a camera and large computer screen to sketch sea creatures he finds along the Port Stephens beach. The Australian Broadcasting Company has a video report on what inspires Formosa's creativity.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Fall plans for the Arkansas School for the Deaf

The superintendent of the Arkansas School for the Deaf says her school is ready to open on Monday (Aug 24). Students are moving back on campus this weekend. You can see her ASL video below and a video report from KARK-TV or read the story here.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Allegations of racism in lawsuit against deaf service organization

A lawsuit alleges racism at one of San Diego's deaf services organizations. According to Jasmine Sandifer, "managers and others at Deaf Community Services of San Diego repeatedly disparaged her and other people of color." Find out more from NBC-7 in a video report below or read the story here

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Cochlear earnings fall after litigation loss

The largest cochlear implant maker, Cochlear Ltd, saw its earnings fall after losing a patent lawsuit in the U.S. The coronavirus pandemic also hurt the company's revenue for the year. The Australian company reported a net loss of more than $283 million for 2019-20 after reporting a profit of $276 million the previous year. The patent litigation was filed by the Alfred E Mann Foundation for Scientific Research and Advanced Bionics. The company said the jury award was out of proportion to the feature's value.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Making the BLM more accessible for the deaf

CBS News takes a look at how the deaf Black community is impacted by police who are abusive.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Name of Skateboarding Move Changing to Honor its Deaf Creator

Tony Hawk is formally changing the name of an iconic skateboarding move to acknowledge the deaf skater who created it. The "mute grab" will now be called the "Weddle Grab" in honor of Chris Weddle.

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For nearly 40 years, we’ve shamelessly referred to this trick as the “mute” air/grab. Here is the backstory: around 1981, a deaf skater and Colton skatepark local named Chris Weddle was a prominent amateur on the competition circuit. The “Indy” air had just been created & named so somebody proposed that grabbing with the front hand should be known as the “Tracker” air. Others countered that Chris was the first to do, so it should be named after him. They referred to him as the “quiet, mute guy.” So it became known as the mute air, and we all went along with it in our naive youth. In recent years a few people have reached out to Chris (who still skates) about this trick and the name it was given. He has been very gracious in his response but it is obvious that a different name would have honored his legacy, as he is deaf but not lacking speech. I asked him last year as I was diving into trick origins and he said he would have rather named it the “deaf” or “Weddle” grab if given the choice. His exact quote to me was “I am deaf, not mute.” So as we embark on the upcoming @tonyhawkthegame demo release, some of you might notice a trick name change: The Weddle Grab. It’s going to be challenging to break the habit of saying the old name but I think Chris deserves the recognition. Thanks to @darrick_delao for being a great advocate to the deaf community in action sports, and for being the catalyst in this renaming process. I told Chris tecently and his reply was “I’m so stoked!” And then he shot this photo in celebration yesterday. 📷: @yousta_storytellers_club

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Deaf TikToker educates her 860K followers

Chrissy Marshall
image from TicTok

Chrissy Marshall’s TicTok feed, ChrissyCantHearYou, has more than 860,000 followers. The deaf social media influencer told InTheKnow: 

I use social media to reach millions of people and educate them about the deaf community, access, ASL, as well as provide them with resources and a place accommodating to learn and grow with each other.

Read more about what she's doing here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

TSD preparing for fall classes

The Texas School for the Deaf is getting ready to start classes online. Watch the video report below from FOX-7 or read the story here.

Deaf community in Calif wants terps to remain independent

There's a bill in the California legislature that could have a big impact on sign language interpreters in the state. KFSN-TV in Fresno has a video report or you can read the story here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Getting to Know a Deaf Farmer in Ohio

Matt Fry is a farmer in Bellville, Ohio who is deaf. He tells Ohio's County Journal, "We know of a few other deaf farmers across the state and in several other states, but there’s no formal organization or anything for us to join to gather or talk regularly.” Read the full article here

Lawsuit: Include ASL in White House Briefings

Five deaf Americans are suing the White House with the help of The National Association of the Deaf in an attempt to force President Donald Trump ASL interpreters at his Covid-19 briefings. CEO Howard Rosenblum says:

Deaf and hard of hearing Americans deserve the same access to information from the White House and the President that everyone else gets. Such information must be provided not only through captioning but also in American Sign Language, especially for government announcements regarding health pandemics.

Read more from a NAD press release here or watch the ASL video below:

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Change to Netflix playback coming

The National Association of the Deaf is applauding Netflix for its plan to allow users to speed up or slow down videos. The feature will also slowdown captions which would help people who might prefer the captions at a slightly slower speed.  Read more about the change here.

A drama based on DPN!

A drama is planned based on the book
Deaf President Now! The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University.
The book, written by John Christiansen and Sharon Barnartt, tells the story of what happened the week of protests at Gallaudet when the students and supporters rallied for eight days around the cry for the school to have a deaf president. The untitled show is an effort from Concordia Studio backed by Nyle DiMarco.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Meet America's top sign language news reporter

The Daily Moth, which offers news in ASL, has more than 200,000 Facebook followers.  The Christian Science Monitor spoke with Alex Abenchuchan about his successful 5-year-old online channel. Watch the video below or read the transcript here.

Happy Birthday, Bob Hiltermann!

Deaf since the age of 4, Bob Hiltermann was born on this day (August 1, 1952) in Germany, the tenth of eleven children born. A bout with meningitis left him deaf but he wasn't diagnosed until the age of ten. Hiltermann learned ASL while attending Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and later formed MuSign (a Signing/Mime company). He acted with Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God, was featured in See What I'm Saying and The Hammer, he created ASL videos called Shut Up and Sign and is drummer for Beethoven's Nightmare.

Friday, July 31, 2020

YouTube is ending its community captions feature

YouTube will discontinue its community captions Sept. 28. It allowed viewers to add subtitles but YouTube says it wasn't used enough. “You can still use your own captions, automatic captions and third-party tools and services,” YouTube said in an update on its help page here.  An online petition asking Google to change the decision has gotten more than 90,000 signatures.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Kentucky Deaf School will start its year online

The Kentucky School for Blind and Kentucky School for the Deaf says it will start year online. The Kentucky Department of Education approved the plan which means the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville will begin instruction on August 24. At least the first six weeks of classes will be held online. A decision about the rest of the semester will be decided in October. In a letter to families, Principal Toyah Robey wrote: 
When we are permitted to return to campus, KSD will provide details in advance of our Healthy at School procedures to ensure the safety of our students and staff when on campus. It is critical that all comply with these guidelines to safeguard the health and welfare of everyone. 
Read the full letter here.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Marlee Matlin Implores Hiring of More Deaf Actors

Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin is working to recognize the talents of deaf and disabled actors as they struggle for work in Hollywood. She talks about it in this New York Times video.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

On this date in 1990: The ADA was signed into law

It was on this day (July 26, 1990) that President George H.W. Bush signed the American Disability Act into law. Senator Tom Harkin says the ADA law was inspired by his deaf brother. The Iowa Democrat says watching his brother, Frank, struggle against social barriers motivated him to push the ADA bill through the U.S. Congress. The law prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other conditions and privileges of employment.  The National Technical Institute for the Deaf President Gerard Buckley writes about the importance of the Act in an article here. You can also read more about the law in the article 30 Years After a Landmark Disability Law, the Fight for Access and Equality Continues and watch the signing in the video below.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Two Docus about the Deaf Community Coming to Netflix

Deaf U and Audible will be on Netflix soon. Both documentaries are about the deaf community in the U.S. Deaf U is an eight-episode series following a group of Deaf students at Gallaudet University. It will have a Netflix premiere on Oct. 9.  Audible is a 36-minute film that follows Maryland School for the Deaf high school athlete Amaree McKenstry-Hall. The film is about the pressures of his senior year—both on and off the football field.  Nyle DiMarco tweeted about the Deaf U series yesterday:

Thursday, July 23, 2020

VA School for the Deaf and the Blind planning to reopen

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind plans to meet in the classroom five days a week—starting next month. Read more about it from WHSV-TV here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Harvard Law School’s first deaf-blind graduate: 'My disability was never my barrier'

Harvard Law School’s first deaf-blind graduate speaks out on ableism in a video for Yahoo Life. Haben Girma says: 
People often ask, ‘Is disability a barrier? How has deaf-blindness been a barrier?’ And then I ask people, ‘Why are you assuming that a disability would be a barrier?’ That's an ableist assumption. We need to move away from thinking ‘is disability a barrier’ and instead move toward thinking, ‘how do we make our service accessible, how do we make our schools accessible? 
Watch the video of the author, lawyer, and disability rights advocate here.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


Unspeakable is a public service announcement about Black Lives Matter featuring members of the deaf community put together by Pittsburgh filmmaker Emmai Alaquiva. She says, “It is my hope that ‘Unspeakable’ brings attention to the basic human right of communication access as a thread which connects us all." 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Some parents at odds with Florida deaf school

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is not offering a distance learning option for the school year despite the rise in coronavirus cases in the state. "If families don't want their children in a classroom with other students in a state that's a coronavirus epicenter, they're left no choice but to leave the school," reports First Coast News.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Protecting the Deaf Community from Investment Scams

This SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) video shows how a fraud takes place from the point of view of a man from the deaf and hard or hearing community who was defrauded by someone they thought they could trust. While the names and people are made up, the story demonstrates how even the most responsible investors can be victims when they put their guard down.

Florida School Staffers identified as being part of offensive photo

Some Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind staff members are in an offensive photo taken of members of Kappa Gamma fraternity at Gallaudet University—including a media specialist and an athletic director. An associate instructor from the University of North Florida is also in the photo, according to a report by The Florida Times-Union. Read more details here

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Nyle DiMarco is getting his own comedy show

from Nyle DiMarco's Instragram
Nyle DiMarco will play a "charismatic, street-smart deaf man" in a new comedy series. The model, deaf activist, and TV star tweeted about it recently: 

if i told my younger self that i would eventually have my own series about Deaf culture, i wouldn’t believe it. deaf people leading in a series about deaf culture? not possible! this is huge for me... thank you all

DiMarco has also revealed that he has potentially been exposed to the coronavirus. He has experienced a fever, chills, a sore throat and lost his smell and taste. He is now recovering in self-isolation. Read more about it from Deadline here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Deaf Groups Sue Florida Gov

Disability Rights Florida and the National Association of the Deaf have filed a lawsuit against Florida's governor for failing to make his COVID-19 briefings accessible in sign language. Ron DeSantis 

Howard A. Rosenblum, who leads the NAD, says:
Health threats such as coronavirus impact everyone including deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and it is imperative that all governmental announcements be accessible to all of us including in ASL. Given the extraordinary surge of coronavirus cases in Florida, full and equal access to information is critical.
Read the full complaint here

Monday, July 13, 2020

Investigation into principal at deaf school

A high school assistant principal at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is under investigation for his part in a fraternity at Gallaudet University that was recently suspended for anti-Semitic activities. 
Tim Hile belonged to Kappa Gamma and is seen in a 2006 photo apparently giving a Nazi-style salute As a Gallaudet University student. Read the full story here.

Remembering a "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community"

Harlan Lane
PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill/Northeastern University
Harlan Lane died a year ago today (July 13, 2019) at the age of 82 from Parkinson’s disease. A psychologist and linguist, Lane helped to found the ASL program at Northeastern University. But he will mostly be remembered as a "tireless champion and advocate for the Deaf community." Among the books he authored was The People of the Eye: Deaf Ethnicity and Ancestry. He argued in the book that deafness is not a disability but a unique community. Lane became interested in Deaf culture and ASL in the 1970s while teaching at the University of California, San Diego. He happened upon students who were signing to each other and wanted to learn more. He explained in an interview with the Northeastern in 2011 here. The interim co-director of the ASL Program at Northeastern, Angela Herbert, said:
Professionally speaking, he was decades before his time in terms of understanding the value of Deaf people and the Deaf community. There are so many books on ASL, Deaf culture, and the Deaf community now, but when Harlan was starting out, that just wasn’t the case.
People at Gallaudet University remember Lane as a professor in the 1980s who was an outspoken member of the “Deaf President Now” movement. Read more about Lane here.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

How the 1918 influenza pandemic affected the Kentucky School for the Deaf

The 1918 influenza pandemic (also known as The Spanish Flu) killed millions of people including 14,000 people in Kentucky. The Advocate-Messenger takes a look at the effect the outbreak had on the state's school for the deaf here

Commissioner for the deaf put on paid leave

The Massachusetts commissioner for the deaf is on paid leave while an investigation is underway into his fraternity activities during college. The fraternity engaged in racist and anti-Semitic practices. WCVB-TV reports Commissioner Steven Florio of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing told staff about his participation in some of the frat's controversial activities. Florio also sent an email to staff in which he wrote, "I disavow my past affiliation with the fraternity." Read more here.

Steven Florio
Steven Florio from WCVB-TV video

Friday, July 10, 2020

On this Date: Sentenced to Life in Prison

It was on this date (July 10) in 2002 that a District of Columbia judge sentenced Joseph Mesa, Jr. to six life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders of two Gallaudet classmates. The 22-year-old from Guam was convicted of first beating Eric Plunkett to death in September of 2000 and then stabbing Benjamin Varner to death in February of 2001. Both attacks took place in Gallaudet dorm rooms. Mesa took money from both victims but turned himself into police a few days after killing Varners. Pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Mesa told jurors he saw hands wearing black gloves telling him in sign language to kill the 19-year-olds. Mesa's defense attorney suggested that the attack on Plunkett was prompted by rage over an unwanted homosexual advance. Mesa was convicted on all 15 counts and was, at last report, serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California near San Francisco, a high-security facility.