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 Si├ón 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.