Tuesday, December 29, 2020

All Californians will soon be able to text 911 for help

Every dispatch center in California must accept text message requests for help starting Friday. The new 2021 law (AB 1168) will make California’s 911 emergency dispatch system more robust to serve the deaf as well as those in rural parts of the state. Some counties do not have the option in place yet but are working on changing their system. Other Counties already have such a service in place, such as Sacramento County which set up a text-to-911 service in 2018. You can read the text of the bill here.

A film called CODA

A film called CODA will debut at the next Sundance Film Festival. The director and screenwriter is Siân Heder and the film is about a hearing child--the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her family's reliance on her to be their connection to the outside world. Emilia Jones plays the hearing girl and Marlee Matlin is one of the co-stars. CODA will debut on Jan. 30 and tickets for the film festival, which has been moved online, go on sale on Jan. 7 and you can buy them here. Below is a preview.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Saved by a mask

A Virginia man says his face mask may have saved his life. When someone started shooting at Roanoke’s Valley View Mall Saturday night, employees at one of the stores saw that Clint Colquhoun’s mask identified him as deaf. That is when the pulled him to safety. Read more from WDBJ here.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The promises and pitfalls of Neurotech

Neurotech attempts to "connect human brains to machines, computers and mobile phones." The goal is to develop therapies for neurological diseases and mental illnesses. Examples include cochlear implants for the deaf and hard of hearing, and deep-brain stimulators that assist people with Parkinson’s disease to regain functional mobility. But there is a problem with this advancing technology. As Scientific American puts it:
There are no widely accepted regulations or guardrails yet when it comes to neurotech’s development or deployment. We need them—we need them bad. We must have principles and policies around neurotech, technology safeguards, and national and international regulations.
Read more here.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Meet two Amazon Deaf employees

Two Deaf employees are thriving at an Amazon facility in Albany, according to an article in the Times-Union. One is from Brazil and one is from the Phillipines. They are among the half dozen deaf employees at the company’s Schodack facility. Read more here.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

SF gay chorus using ASL

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is not only going virtual this holiday season, but the 300-member chorus will also perform "Silent Night" while using ASL. Read more about it from NBC News here or watch a preview below.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

All the Alter Boy songs performed in Auslan

The Australian pop band Alter Boy includes three deaf members. All their songs performed in Auslan (Australian sign language). Lead singer Molly says:
We use lots of sub and bass tones so that deaf folks can feel the beat, as well as visual performance and Australian sign language (Auslan). Another common misconception is that deaf people can't play instruments or sing. We are just as talented and as untalented as the rest of you.
Read the full interview here. Below is one of their videos:

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

New Orleans now offers emergency texting

The deaf and hard of hearing in New Orleans can now communicate with first responders using video and texts when they call 911. You can read more here or watch the video below:

Sunday, December 20, 2020

NBC is developing a drama based on Nyle DiMarco’s Life

The life of deaf model, actor and activist Nyle DiMarco has inspired the creation of a drama about a deaf family called Look at Me. The show would be produced for NBC by Neil Meron, who also produced the films Chicago and Hairspray>. Read more details from Deadline here.

TechRadar: “Accessibility should not be an afterthought“

TechRadar takes a look at some recent develops in social media that leaves out entire communities--particularly Twitters expansion into audio. Read the story here.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Deaf Actors come together to Protest against a miniseries called THE STAND

Henry Zaga as Nick Andros
A protest statement has been released that was signed by many deaf actors. The 70 70 signatories are against the casting of a hearing actor to play a Deaf character on the new CBS All Access limited series The Stand. The series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The statement reads in part: 

We will not endorse, watch, or support your miniseries on CBS All Access. We will share our displeasure of the casting decision and airing of the miniseries on CBS All Access with our Deaf community, signing community, friends, and family of Deaf individuals; together we make up 466 million worldwide.

The letter says "not one Deaf professional actor was called in to audition for the role" of the deaf character." Deaf Austin posted more:

Here is the trailer for the CBS miniseries:

Deaf dancer wears haptic vest to feel music

London-based dancer and choreographer Chris Fonseca uses a tactile audio platform called SubPac to feel music through pulses against his body rather than soundwaves in his ear. Here is a CNN report about Fonseca.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" in ASL

Noah Buchholz is a PhD student at Princeton Theological Seminary, doing interdisciplinary research on the topics of liberation theology, postcolonial theory, and Deaf studies. He is also is a Certified Deaf Interpreter and ASL-English translator who served as Assistant Professor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at Bethel College. Enjoy "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" with him in ASL.

A unique business triangle in DC

Branches of two giant corporations and a local restaurant are all cleverly designed to serve the large, local deaf community. Read more in The Hill here.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Variety calls ‘Sound of Metal’ an Oscar-Worthy ‘Wake-Up’ to Deaf Culture

Variety gives a glowing review to the new Amazon film Sound of Metal. Director Darius Marder is quoted as saying:
Movies that try to appropriate deaf culture and represent it without proper connections are pretty offensive. Deaf people always remember when someone pretends to be deaf. But I have noticed a generous spirit in the deaf culture. They’re not looking to tear things down. The deaf community unfortunately has gotten used to being ignored and dismissed. They are moving from feeling grateful that people even notice that they exist, to realizing that they should be noticed.
Read the full story here.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Texas School For The Deaf’s Football Team Wins State Championship For 1st Time

The NBC Today Show takes a look at how the Texas School for the Deaf became state football champions last night.

It's OK to Point!

A video explaining some differences between hearing and Deaf culture from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. with ASL instructor Jack Volpe.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Deaf community members see lead role in Sound of Metal as Hollywood milestone

Sound of Metal focuses on a musician's journey into the deaf community. Riz Ahmed’s performance is already creating some Oscar buzz but it’s the depiction of the deaf characters that many say is long overdue. Paul Raci, who stars in the film as a deaf instructor says the deaf community is "tired of being portrayed falsely." Read more from the CBC here. Below is a CBC video report:

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Paul Raci is getting rave reviews

Paul Raci is “drawing raves for his performance as a deafened alcohol counselor in Sound of Metal. A member of Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles, Raci is also the lead singer for Black Sabbath tribute band Hands of Doom ASL ROCK, a band that performs in American Sign Language.“ Paul talks about what this movie captures about the deaf experience in an IndieWire article here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Sound of Metal

The film Sound of Metal tells the story of a heavy-metal drummer who loses his hearing and finds acceptance in the Deaf community. It picked up awards at the Zurich Film Festival and Sunset Film Circle Awards and is available on Amazon Prime video. Some of the acting is silent and in ASL and the entire movie is open captioned. The star of the film, Riz Ahmed, said, "Once I became more fluent in ASL, I found myself getting really emotional speaking about certain topics in a way I might not have if I had been verbally communicating about them.” A USA Today article explains how the filmmakers sought to honor Deaf culture. You can read it here.

What to do if face masks are being worn in your child’s school

The National Deaf Children's Society offers advice in this video to British parents on the difficulties for deaf children attending schools where face coverings are used in classrooms or in communal areas.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

NYPD using sign to connect with the community

A New York Police officer is building relationships with the Deaf community by using his first language on the job--American Sign Language. Officer Angel Familia of the 9th precinct gives a greeting in sign language in a video tweeted by the police department.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Cape Coral doctor now makes patients heard

David Shropshire has been profoundly deaf since the age of two. That did not stop him from becoming an audiologist. Find out more in a video report from WBBH-TV in Fort Myers here.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Deaf Man Beaten, Shot In St. Paul

A Minnesota deaf man was beaten and shot this week in a robbery attempt. Police say it happened in St. Paul in the middle of Wednesday afternoon. Read more from CBS-4 here.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Racism allegations at Gallaudet

Claudia Gordon

Claudia Gordon, the first deaf Black female attorney in the US says she felt like a token while a member of Gallaudet University’s Board of Trustees. She resigned from that positions in May and tells the Washington Post:
I felt like my identity was welcome but my knowledge and input were not. The university leadership continually skirted around undertaking the uncomfortable conversations, as well as bold and decisive actions necessary to dismantle the pervasive structural and systemic racism that is so deeply entrenched in this 156-year-old institution.
The disability rights advocate says “she endured microaggression, and watched other Black officials denied promotions and pushed out of leadership positions.“ The school recently suspended a fraternity when photos came to light of members wearing items that looked like KKK robes. The Post also spoke with another board member who resigned, James F.X. Payne, about patterns of discrimination at the university. Read the full story here.

The pandemic's impact on kids in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community

A deaf mother says, "My children would come home (from school) and they're like, 'I don't know exactly what that teacher was saying.' And they were very upset with it." Especially if it's a teacher who isn't the most fluent in American Sign Language, they struggled even more." She is one of several people CBS News spoke to about how the education of their children is going. Read the story here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Group home provider settles allegation from deaf resident

The largest group home operator in Virginia for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities has settled a complaint that it violated ADA law by failing to provide sign language interpreters. Good Neighbor Homes will pay $225,000 to the women who did not get an interpreter on numerous occastions and her sister, who interpretered for her, will get $50,000 civil penalty. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

I’m deaf, and this is what happens when I get on a Zoom call

Deaf product designer Quinn Keast says working from home is a bonus for him--except when his Sourcegraph team chooses to connect through video. He writes:   

Lip-reading doesn’t work well over video, because lip-reading relies on a whole lot more visual information than just the lips, and video calls don’t carry the full visual and emotional bandwidth needed to read lips easily. So instead, I use a series of hacks or built-in tools to help me out by providing real-time speech-to-text. 


Read the full story about what the team did to try to accommodate Quinn here.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Deaf advocacy group says deaf voters not given enough access to vote

A Deaf advocacy group wants video remote interpretation services available at every early voting site in Texas. No Barriers Communications says deaf voters in Bexar County aren’t getting adequate access to voting. Only one location in the county has assistent for daef voters. KSAT-TV has a video report.

“Are you really deaf?”

A deaf Florida woman was challenged by a Delta flight attendant as to whether she was really deaf. Kelli Duncan was wearing a maske that read “Just Deaf, Not Rude.” As she and a friend were getting on their flight attendant who was behind me rudely demanded, “Are you really deaf?” Read more on the story here.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Research on better hearing with implants in noisy environments

An Australian researcher says he has developed a new way to predict how to tweak cochlear implants for recipients in order to more quickly improve their hearing in noisy situations. Greg Watkins, who holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, believes the result of his findings might lead to personalized implants. Watkins himself has two cochlear implants. He says:
Greg Watson
credit: University of Sydney 
Despite their successes, there remain areas such as the cochlear implant's performance in noisy environments where a personalised approach in taking the sound from the environment and translating that into electrical stimulation could conceivably make a world of difference.
His findings are published in the Ear and Hearing journal. Read more about the research from the University of Sydney here.

DeafBlind poet, essayist gets $50k grant

A DeafBlind poet will receive a $50,000 grant. John Lee Clark is among 20 Disability Future Fellows from around the country selected by the Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Clark is from Minnesota and has authored the essay collection Where I Stand: On the Signing Community and My DeafBlind Experience as well as a poetry chapbook called Suddenly Slow. Below is a video of Clark talking about the Douglas Bullard book Islay.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

UK TV personality: My Deaf Brother's "living hell"

British television personality Josie Gibson was emotional on the show This Morning as she talked about the difficulties faced by her deaf brother, Harry. She calls his experiences during the pandemic a "living hell." Gibson, who won the 11th season of Big Brother. points to the difficulty of being able to lip-read while people are using face masks. Ironically, the video does not have captions but here is part of what she said:
We are so privileged to be able to still communicate even though we wear a face mask. Imagine going into a shop and be totally cut off from everybody in that shop Not only do they use it - lip reading - to communicate, they use the whole bottom part as expression. They won't know if people are trying to talk to them, if people are trying to get their attention. They don't know how people are feeling - they wouldn't know the emotion of that person because they're just so cut off from that person. Everywhere, we're told wear mask, save lives, but we've forgotten about this community where these masks are making their lives a living hell.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Tech firm settles lawsuit over refusing to interview Deaf worker

A New Jersey company will pay $77,500 to settle a lawsuit over its treatment of a prospective deaf employee. Conduent Business Services refused to even interview the qualified deaf applicant once it discovered a sign language interpreter would be needed. The company has now agreed to change its reasonable accommodation policy and offer ADA training to its employees. Read more about the settlement here.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Making of ‘Deaf U'” panel

Gallaudet University organized a panel to talk about “The Making of ‘Deaf U'” on Tuesday. Watch it below and read more about the video gathering from Variety here.

Nyle DiMarco: how working on Deaf U made him reflect on his own college experience

Nyle DiMarco from his Instagram

Nyle DiMarco spoke with Entertainment Weekly about how he enjoyed his time at Gallaudet University. His new Netflix series Deaf U follows the lives of recent Gally students, which put him in a nestaglic mood. He said his time at Gallaudet helped him appreciate the diversity within the Deaf community:
There are people like me who'd be labeled as part of the elites because I come from a deaf family, I grew up in the deaf community, and I went to deaf schools. There was a time when I arrived at Gallaudet not considering other students coming in without the same background. So maybe my behavior could've been perceived as harmful by them. It's really a conversation about learning our own positioning within our community and learning how we're leveraging our positioning to support the entirety of the community and back one another as a whole.
DiMarco also reveals how he got into trouble at the school. Read the entire ET interview here.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Deaf author: Don't buy my book

Adam Pottle doesn't want you to buy his new book, "The Most Awesome Character in the World." The children's story follows a young deaf girl who decides to write her own book. The Canadian writer who was born deaf is unhappy with an illustration the publisher, New York's Reycraft Books, inserted depicting what he calls an "Asian stereotype." Pottle told the CBC: "The book is supposed to be a celebration of deaf culture, it's supposed to be a celebration of the deaf community, and of imagination." Read more about the story here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Shooting outside Deaf School

Three were people were shot in front of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf yesterday afternoon. One of them has died while another was shot in the leg and the third was shot in the abdomen. Police say none of the victims were students. Five people were in an SUV when the shots rang out. A man who was not hit drove the others to the hospital. Here is a video report from WPRI-TV or read the story here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

SignVote is helping to provide voter information in ASL

SignVote has been helping Deaf communities get to the polls since 2016. The nonpartisan organization started by the Communication Service for the Deaf provides voting information in social media suing ASL. WDVM-TV has a video report or read more information here.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Deaf School leadership doesn't have the support of alumni and parents

Alumni and parents of students at the Maryland School for the Deaf say that the superintendent and Board of Trustees have repeatedly failed to address the pervasive culture of racism and elitism at the school and are demanding a systematic change in leadership, reports Patch. Catherine Griswold said in public testimony: 

As a parent, what I saw repeatedly was elitism…generationally deaf students are given special treatments with sports, awards classes, grades, teachers etc. Deaf students, who are second-generation deaf, are next in line of priority. Newly deaf come beneath them and hard of hearing are treated very differently and almost like sub-class citizens.

Read the article here.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

How The Deaf Community Challenged The White House—And Won

Here is the backstory on why the Trump administration must now provide an ASL interpreter at all future coronavirus press briefings. Allison Norlian has the story here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Here's Where the Cast of Deaf U Is Now

If you have watched Deaf U and are wondering what has become of the cast since the taping of the eight episodes, O, The Oprah Magazine, has the answers here. The Netflix show debuted today and is set at Gallaudet University.

CNBC profiles a Boston Terp

Jon Urquhart is a CODA who grew up with a deaf-blind father. He ultimately became a sign language interpreter as an adult and now a TikTok creator. CNBC profiled him, focusing on how Jon survives financially on $60K in Boston.

“Deaf U” is available

The Netflix series “Deaf U” is now available for viewing. The reality show follows several Gallaudet University students, all of whom are deaf or hard of hearing. Each of the eight episodes are about 20 minutes long. Actor, model and deaf-rights activity Nyle DiMarco is executive-producer. The Guardian spoke with him about the show here. Here is a Netlflix video where students talk about sign names--including President Trump’s sign name.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Teaching while Deaf in the age of COVID

A university professor takes readers into his world of lectures and masks--it is especially difficult for a deaf man. Kevin Garrison writes in Inside Higher Ed
In class, I cannot get close enough to read people's lips behind the face shields because of social distancing rules, so my students are increasingly silent.
Garrison teaches English at Texas' Angelo State University and you can read his story here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

First-of-its-kind home for deaf opens in Massachusetts

A deaf-friendly home--the only one of its kind in eastern Massachusetts, has just been opened. WCVB-TV has a video report here.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Nurse learning BSL for patients

UK nurse Dawn Bebbington is learning British Sign Language to improve the service she provides for deaf patients. The BBC has a video report.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Meet the Cast of Deaf U

Cosmo is providing the Instagrams for the Cast of Netflix’s New Show ‘Deaf U’. The show debuts a week from today (Friday, Oct 7). The reality series follows a group of deaf students who attend Gallaudet University. Take a look here.

View this post on Instagram

A little advice, always add spice 💕

A post shared by tessa lewis (@tessazabrina) on

Nursing and the Deaf community in the pandemic

The UK's Nursing Times posted an article about the particular concerns that need to be addressed when it comes to providing quality care for the Deaf community.  Tarnia Lefevre, a nurse working with the deaf, wrote:

It’s time we as professionals take a stand and say to the government to live by their own standards and laws. Let’s not make communication an afterthought – bring it to the forefront and remind ourselves why it is one of the six Cs (of nursing).
Read the entire post here.

St. Louis University gets large grant to fund Deaf education

The Dept. of Education is giving Fontbonne University a $1.25 million grant to fund deaf education and speech-language pathology scholars. The money will support a six-semester program to help prepare speech-language pathologists and teachers. Read more from KSDK-TV here.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

An ASL Bible 38 years in the making

A project started in 1981, to translate the Bible into ASL, is finally complete. The team of 53 translators completed the last three books this fall: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The translation was the vision of Duane King, founder of Deaf Missions. Read more about him here. The series of signed videos of the Bible can be accessed at the Deaf Missions site here. Deaf Missions CEO Chad Entinger said:
While Deaf Americans that are practicing Christians in particular have reason to celebrate, this really represents a broader win for all Deaf people and ASL communicators. This translation comes at a time in history when a lot is possible in terms of advancements for accommodating Deaf people. The explosion of digital technology and accessible video has allowed more Deaf people to share knowledge and communicate. Not unlike how the Bible was the first book printed on a modern printing press or the creation of the first Braille Bible in the 20th century, the availability of an ASL version of the Bible demonstrates a turning point in the culture toward normalizing sign languages.
Deaf Missions is celebrating the achievement virtually today on its Facebook page. Read more about the project here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

YouTube ends its community captions feature

We warned you back in July that YouTube was planning to discontinue its community captions. And it did so on Monday, despite complaints from the Deaf community including an online petition with more than half-a-million signatures. The feature allowed viewers to add subtitles but YouTube says it wasn't used enough. According to YouTube, they decided to deactivate the said feature because it is rarely used and plagued by spam and abuse. “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. But the Google automated are often full of errors.

The origin of Nicaraguan Sign Language tells us a lot about language creation

When linguists discovered deaf children in Nicaragua using a sign language they created on their own, researchers had a unique way to study the development of language. Public Radio International takes a look at how this happened here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Watch the Presidential Debate in ASL

The first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden takes place this evening (Tues., Sept. 29) starting at 9 pm, Eastern at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace is the moderator. Watch it live in ASL on the DPAN.tv Facebook page and the DPAN website.  DPAN stands for Deaf Professional Artists Network. It was founded by Sean Forbes and Joel Martin to support deaf and hard-of-hearing performers.

On this date... 29 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 27, 2020

20 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 a 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.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Profile of a School Counselor

Cookie Brand explains in this video from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, how she became a school counselor at the Kerugoya School for the Deaf in Kenya.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Judge: White House Must include Sign Language interpreters at Covid Briefings

The White House must provide sign language interpreters at briefings related to COVID-19, a federal judge has ruled. The Trump administration has the choice of either putting an interpreter physically near the speaker or by putting an interpreter, located elsewhere, within the frame. DC District Court Judge James Boasberg wrote: The National Association of the Deaf had sued on behalf of five deaf people. NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum said:
Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic. The judge’s order sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.
The NAD has put out a news release with more info here.  

Deaf U Trailer

Back in July we told you abot a new Netflix documentary called Deaf U that debuts on Oct. 9. Netflix has just released a new trailer for the show.

DC could soon get office for deaf and hard of hearing

There may soon be an office dedicated to the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C. The D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass the “Office On Deaf and Hard of Hearing Establishment Amendment Act of 2019” yesterday. The bill would "create an office to advocate for legislation and policies that address the needs of the city’s deaf, deafblind and hard-of-hearing communities,” according to the DCist. The bill still needs the mayor to sign on off on it. Read more about the office here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

New Zoom Accessibility options

Zoom added some accessibility options today to its video-conference software that will help ASL interpreters. Users can now pin and spotlight multiple video screens at a time--that way someone signing can be pinned alongside the speaker so they are always in view. In the grid view, users can rearrange video windows so that the interpreter is on the screen wherever they want to see them. Jen Hill explains how to use the features in this video. 

Railroad failed to accommodate deaf conductor

A federal appeals court is unanimously overturning a lower court ruling and reinstating the claim of a deaf train conductor. The lawsuit of Mark Mlsna said Union Pacific Railroad Company did not reasonably accommodate him. Union Pacific had given Mlsna a hearing test which he did not pass without his hearing aids and the company rejected his custom-made hearing protection device. As a result, Mlsna was fired and he filed an ADA-based lawsuit. The suit was dismissed by a district court judge, despite the fact his experience and knowledge as a train conductor was not in dispute. This was overturned with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which wrote:
Because genuine issues of fact exist as to whether Union Pacific reasonably accommodated Mlsna’s hearing disability, Union Pacific should not have received summary judgment.
You can read the full final opinion here.

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.