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.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Little girl greets deaf delivery driver in sign

A video has gone viral that shows eight-year-old Tallulah greeting deaf delivery driver in Greater Manchester, England. She used the sign language to surprise Tim Joseph. They had became friends and Tallulah drew a picture of a rainbow for the driver to thank him for his efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic. Joseph told the BBC, “Tallulah realized I was deaf and then one day she surprised me when she signed to me, ’Have a good day.’ I think she learnt sign language at school.” The video was taken by Tallulah's mother, Amy Roberts.

Monday, July 6, 2020

How Rochester Became a Hub for the Deaf

Rochester is home to one of the largest deaf and hard-of-hearing populations in the U.S. Read about how that came about in an article from the Daily Beast here.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Gally's plan for fall teaching

Gallaudet University will start the fall semester remotely, then slowly bring students back for in-person learning based on recommendations from the school’s reopening task force and city officials. Below is a video from President Roberta J. Cordano about the fall semester and you can read more information here.