Saturday, November 28, 2020

Gratitude from students at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

Children from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are expressing their gratitude for those who have donated to help support their education. The gifts cover hearing aids and specialized equipment, white canes, accessibility technology, magnification devices, educational opportunities, and more.

Terp uses TikTok to highlight Deaf community

A Maryland sign language interpreter has amassed some 20 million views and 700,000 followers on TikTok with just a few videos. Tabatha Podleiszek started by shooting a video of herself teaching her toddler ASL. Her boyfriend is helping with the videos as well--and he is a CODA. She tells the Frederick News-Post that she is now focused on highlighting members of the Deaf community. “Even though I do have a family connection to Deaf individuals, I really do my best to duet with other Deaf creators, or I’ll tag Deaf creators in my comments and try to turn the spotlight on them and get them the traction and attention that they deserve as well,” Podleiszek said. Read the full story here

@raisinghaven

By teaching her two languages at once she will learn both faster and more efficiently, therefore becoming bilingual! ##asl ##babysign ##babyasl ##deaf

♬ original sound - Tabatha Marie

Friday, November 27, 2020

Social Media Has A Ways To Go When It Comes To Accessibility

BuzzFeedNews has an article about Scarlet Waters--the deaf teen with more than 3 million TikTok followers. She is “one of the few people openly talking about“ how social media is often not deaf-friendly. Read the story here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A First: Terp included in the White House Briefing

After dozens of briefings without interpreters, an ASL interpreter signed for a White House COVID briefing on Nov. 13. The National Association of the Deaf had won a federal lawsuit this summer requiring the White House to incorporate ASL into the briefings. Below is the video from that first briefing including an interpreter.

12 years ago today: William Gibson died

On November 25, 2008, the man who wrote a famous play about Helen Keller called The Miracle Worker died. William Gibson's story of Helen Keller’s relationship with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, won the 1960 Tony Award for best play and is still regularly performed around the country in community theaters. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, played the stage roles of Sullivan and Keller, respectively. They went on to win Academy Awards when repeating the parts for the film version in 1962. Mr. Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay. Twenty years later, he wrote a sequel about Sullivan called The Monday After the Miracle but it flopped on Broadway. Gibson died at the age of 94 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Receives $28.5 Million

The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind is getting a new $28 million campus in Decatur. The project will span 160-acres to accomodate independent living educational programs for K-12 students and adults. The new location will be a satellite campus for the orginal location in Talladega, founded in 1858. The institution's Cyber Security curriculum created through a partnership with The University of Alabama in Huntsville, The National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Gallaudet University will be expanded. There are plans to create a Resource Center for Deaf Education as a satellite of the federally-funded National Deaf Education Center in Washington, DC. Read more here.

Training for Austin police related to the Deaf community

Police in Austin say they are making an effort to reach out to the deaf community in the Texas city. Cadet training includes two relavant sections: One is called Services for the Deaf, which is mandated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The other part of the training is supplementary instruction specific to the Austin Police Department due to the large deaf population in Austin. Read more from the Austin Monitor here.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Happy Birthday Mojo!

This is Mojo Mathers birthday (born Nov 23, 1966). She became the first deaf member of New Zealand's parliament when she ran as a Green candidate in 2011. She was born profoundly deaf and is a lipreader. She began to use sign language in the late 2000s New Zealand became the first country to adopt sign language as an official language in 2006 and now, some 25,000 people use sign language in the country. The New Zealand government provides interpreters in Parliament as well as for major speeches and announcements.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Meet the actress blazing a sign-language trail in new ‘Spider-Man’ video game

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales includes a scene in American Sign Language. The second installment of the Spider-Man series released last week as a launch title for the PlayStation 5. The Los Angeles Times spoke with actress Natasha Ofili who signs in ASL as Hailey Cooper in the video game here.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Deaf-owned Restaurant Closes

Mozzeria owners when it opened in 2011 
In November of 2011, DeafNewsToday told you about the opening of a new pizza restaurant in San Francisco that would take place the following month. The owners are deaf, as are many of the wait staff and cooks. Since then, Mozzeria, a name combining mozzarella cheese and pizzeria, has opened in several other locations. But owners Melody and Russell Stein were forced to close the Mission district location last week. Mozzeria was San Francisco’s first and only Deaf-owned-and-operated restaurant. The daughter of hearing parents, Melody Stein attended the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, while Russ Stein grew up in New York City as part of a deaf family. They met at Gallaudet University where they studied Business Administration. Melody's father operated restaurants in Hong Kong where she was born, has studied Hospitality Management and took cooking classes in Italy. The restaurant became a favorite of anyone in the area studying ASL and certainly of those in Deaf Culture. Mozzeria food truck will still be in operation for private events and may be used for a swing up and down the West Coast. KQED radio has more on the closure here.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Former Deaf School Teacher Arrested


A former teacher at the Michigan School for the Deaf is facing three felonies related to the sexual abuse of children. ABC-12 reports the school failed to inform law enforcement or parents of issues related to the suspect on campus. The school isn't talking. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The signs for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

NPR takes a (brief) look at the discussion over what the signs for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should be here.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Coffee Shop Chain in South Africa Hires mostly Deaf workers

I Love Coffee is a chain of cafés in South Africa. Founder Gary Hopkins says he was moved to staff the shops mainly with Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees because "sign language isn’t really recognised as a language in South Africa, and that has led to great levels of unemployment." Read the full story here or watch the video below:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Masters Moment

Deaf golfer Kevin Hall is featured in a Masters video shared by CBS Sports. Hall lost his hearing when he was two years old after contracting meningitis.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

On this day in 1966


It was on this date in 1966 (Nov 14) Congressman Hugh Carey announced that Rochester, New York would be the site of a new college. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) admitted its first students in 1968. It is one of nine colleges located at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There are now more than 1500 students and about 600 faculty and staff. More than one-in-five of the students has a cochlear implant. Less than one-in-five of the faculty and staff are deaf or hard-of-hearing. There is a yearly budget of $89 million to run the school. $65 million of that comes in the form of federal funds.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

NFL cheerleader learning sign language

An Indianapolis Colts cheerleader has gone back to school to learn ASL so she can connect with deaf fans. Watch a video report from WTTV-TV (CBS-4) in Indianapolis below or read the story here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Picking Joe Biden’s Sign Name

image: Gage Skidmore
The deaf community is still trying to come to a consensus on what the sign name will be for President-elect Joe Biden. One references Biden’s signature Ray-Ban sunglasses. However, this option has been criticized for resembling the sign of the Crips gang. The LA Times quotes deaf activist and Compton ASL Club founder, Michael Agyin, as saying:
The deaf community tends to come together to create new signs when our society experiences changes. Just as a sign for the coronavirus came about, the same applies to the new president. One reason Biden’s sign name is tricky is that he has no strong visual characteristics that make him stand out. I mean, Biden has been around in politics for 47 years, and this is the first time he’s actually getting a sign name.
ASL influencer Nakia Smith has a strong opinion on this controversy.
View this post on Instagram

I signed what I signed

A post shared by My Hands Are Loud Enough (@itscharmay) on

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Calif County to Pay $150K settlement

California’s Kern County will pay a deaf woman $150,000 to settle a lawsuit. We first told you abot the lawsuit in October. Jennifer Mello was arrested in 2017 but deputies refused to provide her with a sign language interpreter as required by ADA law. The deputies kept trying to speak to her verbally, she reported. Then Mello was left in jail for five days withot access to an interpreter and appeared in court--again, without an interpreter. Kern County has not agreed to make any policy changes as part of the settlement.

A Bennett Song Holiday

A new video is out today that features five deaf actors who use ASL throughout the film. In A Bennett Song Holiday a family learns the true meaning of the holidays as they solve a community crisis and adapt to big changes. Mrs. Bennett is expecting her first child--to go along with 14 adopted children. Meanwhile, they team up to take on a powerful real estate developer who is threatening to close down their uncle’s community center. Its a sequal to the family romantic comedy Bennett’s Song. Below is the trailer.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Train Gone Sorry now streaming


Train Gone Sorry is an ASL web series put together by Matt Ott. It is about an aspiring deaf performer in New York City who is working on his relationship with hearing-abled Jess. Train Gone Sorry stars JW Guido and Jacqueline Keeley. It is streaming on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Vimeo. More information here

A Maryland University will offer a Deaf studies minor

Maryland’s Salisbury University is adding a deaf studies minor to be housed in its School of Social Work and Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies Department. Ellen Schaefer-Salins, assistant professor of social work, is a mental health therapist in the deaf community and will oversee the program and says:
Students will learn the culture and history of the deaf community, and they will learn a new and useful language that can help them in finding employment in the future. The population of deaf people is increasing on Delmarva due to culturally deaf people retiring to communities around Bethany, Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City. There is a need for improved and accessible services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing in social work, mental health, medical services and more.
Read more about it here.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A totally implantable cochlear implant


Med-El says it is making progress in developing a fully implantable cochlear implant. The Austrian company reports the first such surgery in Europe was successfully performed at Liège University Hospital in Belgium. It is likely to take several years before Med-El can bring the new device to the market. The online publication Hearing Health and Technology Matters magazine recently named Med-El “Innovator of the Year.” You can see a video about the awards below. You can read more about the new procedure in a press release from Med-El here.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Two Deaf Students talk about Voting For The First Time

Shayla Rochette and Austin Eaton were two of the new voters who cast ballots on election day. In the video below, senior Austin Eaton, who attends The Learning Center for the Deaf at the Marie Philip School in Massachusetts, talks about voting for the first time.

In the video below, senior Shayla Rochette, who attends The Learning Center for the Deaf at the Marie Philip School in Massachusetts, talks about voting for the first time. She voted early last week in her hometown of Worcester with her mother, who is also deaf.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Voting While Deaf

Rikki Poynter has contributed a column to Charlotte’s alternative newspaper about the struggles of voting while deaf. She writes:
As a deaf person, my voting experiences are different from hearing people’s. Add COVID-19 into the equation and things get even more complicated. Since this was my first time voting early, I had no idea what to expect ... I hoped I’d be able to get some sort of efficient accommodation when I arrived but, unfortunately, some things were a bit of a struggle.

Read the entire column here

Monday, November 2, 2020

New President at Deaf School

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind has a new president. This was Tracie Snows first day in her new role. She was an administrator of instructional services at the school. She takes over for Julia Mintzer who was the interim president. Snow says:
I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected as the next president of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. I truly believe in the mission of our school. We are a school of academic excellence that strives to provide all students with an opportunity to access educational services in a caring, safe and unique learning environment that prepares them to be lifelong learners.
Read more here or watch an ASL video of the announcment here. In the video below, Snow gives a message to parents of the school about COVID-19.

Two Years Ago: Kitty O'Neil Dies

Professional stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil died two years ago (Nov. 2, 2018) from pneumonia at the age of 72. Among other things, the deaf daredevil set a record for land speed by a female driver in 1976. It was in Oregon's Alvord Desert that Kitty hit 512 miles per hour.

Childhood diseases left her deaf and nearly killed her. She became a champion diver at a young age. Her work later as a Hollywood stuntwoman was featured in TV shows like Quincy, Baretta and The Bionic Woman along with movies like Smokey and the Bandit, The Blues Brothers and Airport '77. 

She set a record for the highest stunt fall by a woman (105 feet).  She has held as many as 22-speed records on land and water.

A movie was made about her life in 1979 titled Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story. Read more about her amazing life in a Washington Post article here.

Below is a video report on Kitty from the Midco Sports Network put together in 2015.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Commissioner For Deaf in Mass. Fired

Steven Florio
Steven Florio from WCVB-TV video
The Massachusetts Commissioner for the deaf is out of a job following his admission to wearing Ku Klux Klan and Nazi outfits while attending Gallaudet University. We told you back in July that Steven Florio was on paid leave while his fraternity activities were under investigation. The school suspended his fraternity, Kappa Gamma Fraternity, earlier this year. Florio disavowed the group but apparently, that wasn't enough for the governor's office. Here is a video report from CBS-Boston. Read more here