National Association of the Deaf


This lists all blog postings by the NAD and individuals who have submitted blog entries for posting by the NAD. Some of these will also be in video format (vlogs), which we expect will increase over time.

We welcome your comments! Before you send these in, please first review our Blog Policy.

For this month’s #NADHandwave, the NAD is excited to recognize a person who works diligently to support people with disabilities to become better self-advocates -- her name is Haben Girma.

Haben is a DeafBlind attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013, and since then has speedily engaged in a great deal of activism to promote the rights of people with disabilities. She already has been recognized twice for her hard work. First, she was recognized as one of 21 Most Impressive Students at Harvard. Second, the White House gave an award to Haben as one of the Champions of Change. She has a deep commitment to students who need more access in schools.

She currently serves as a Skadden Fellow attorney at Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), which is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Through this position, Haben has been able to break down physical and attitudinal barriers and strives to improve access for students with disabilities in schools.

Because of her work and her example, she has been highly sought as a presenter and has been giving speeches all over the United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. She is often invited to educate people about the rights of students who have disabilities. She encourages the parents of these students to have high expectations for their children.

During an interview she had with Business Insider (BI), she explained, “The sad fact is that besides Helen Keller, there are very few DeafBlind role models." She continued, “I created my website a while back to help inspire Americans with disabilities and their supporters so that they, too, can be role models for others.”

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community. This is great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to move. If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion online!

Thank you for all the work you’ve done, Haben. We appreciate your work and we’re grateful for your commitment. Without your advocacy efforts, the need to educate others on our rights would be much harder to achieve.  Congratulations on receiving this month’s #NADHandwave!

Stay in the #NAD2014 loop and check out the social media feed on www.nad.org/2014atlanta/social-media! Bookmark this on your browsers!

Felice Marcus is a mainstream schoolteacher at the Indian Pines Elementary School. She has tremendous passion as shown through her teaching experience for more than 25 years! Her dedication to making sure other deaf children got an education is amazing given that Felice herself grew up in public schools with little accommodations and no access to sign language.

She previously taught at The Learning Center and the New York School for the Deaf, and took on her current position as a K-2 teacher at a public school when she needed to move to south Florida to take care of her mother.

Interpreters have repeatedly told her that her classroom is a "magic land" for deaf and hard of hearing students at this public school.  Anyone who visits her classroom will see the students thriving and enthusiastically learning with this dynamic and committed teacher who has high expectations from her students.  She also has volunteered countless hours of ASL storytelling at various community events.  

Currently, she is working with a non-profit organization, Waving Hands, which is dedicated to the re-telling of children’s books through American Sign Language (ASL). It is her goal to host monthly storytelling events at libraries for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.  

She is a past Deaf Olympian, winning gold twice in basketball in 1981 and 1985.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community.  This is a great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do.  With such great people, the world continues to move.  If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion online!

Felice, thank you for ensuring everyday that children are given a chance to shine!

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[video description and transcript available below].
 
Juniper Sussman, one of the facilitators for the #NAD2014 Community Forum, shares further information about this great NAD@Night event. 
 
 
 
Video description and transcript:
 
Video fades to black background and white text, "NAD's First Ever Community Forum."
 
Video fades to Juniper Sussman standing in front of a blue background.
 
JUNIPER: Hello everyone!  Welcome.  I'm excited to share that this year the NAD will host its first ever Community Forum!  My name is Juniper Sussman and I'll be working with Janis Cole for the Community Forum. This is a major opportunity for the community to come together to engage in a full and open dialogue. The discussion may be sensitive or difficult, but that's okay!  This forum is great opportunity to come together, reflect, and share. It's important that everyone feels they can participate in this open and safe environment.
 
In order to make this possible, we need YOU.  We need many facilitators to ensure the that all members feel that they can participate and contribute to the conversation. If you had this thought to yourself, I would like to facilitate, but I have no experience... Don't worry about that. We will be sending you information and tips.  Additionally, we will provide a 2-hour training the day before the forum, to make sure you all feel comfortable and ready to help.
 
The Community Forum happens Wednesday night, July 2nd, 7-9 PM. Details about the training will be shared with you soon.  Even if you're not a facilitator, we hope to see you there!
 
If you are interested in joining the facilitator crew, please contact me at cheri.sussman@gallaudet.edu.  I'll be seeing you soon!
 
Video fades to black.
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[Note: Video description and Transcript is below.]
 
Ms. Chanel Gleicher, the National Association of the Deaf's (NAD), very own Miss Deaf America, shares what she's done since April 2014 however, this is bittersweet because it is her last one as Miss Deaf America.
 
 
 
Video description and Transcript: 
 
Video fades to soft blue and white background with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered.  
 
Video fades to white then fades to Miss Deaf America inside the NAD Headquarters' front lobby.  
 
MISS DEAF AMERICA: Hi! How many of you are looking forward to NAD Conference this summer?! So am I! I have to admit though; I do have mixed feelings about the upcoming conference because of two reasons. For one, I am excited to participate in the YAP retreat right before the Conference, as well as meeting people and attending workshops during the Conference. Secondly, it is going to be bittersweet that I am completing my duties as the Miss Deaf America (MDA).Yes, my two-year reign as the Miss Deaf America has gone in the blink of an eye! This also means that this will be my last vlog as the Miss Deaf America. 
 
Nonetheless, since February I have made several more appearances and I have done a lot of volunteering. I have had the opportunity to work at the Western Regional Deaf Academic Bowl and Mr. and Miss Deaf Teen America (DTA) Pageant at California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSDR). Also, in April, I stayed with a host family for almost a week in Ventura, California. In exchange for room and board, I volunteered at their flower farm  - weeding, gardening, and meeting adorable baby goats! I also gave a presentation to a group of ASL students at Pierce College in Los Angeles about the NAD and its youth programs. My most recent visit was supporting the showing of one of the ASL Films, "In The Can," hosted at CSDR.
 
Just because my two-year reign is coming to an end does not mean that I will stop volunteering or be involved in the deaf community. The experiences as Miss Deaf America have taught me a lot and helped me learn what I am passionate about - being involved and being an advocate for our community no matter where I am. I will always treasure the memories I have made, including new faces I have met and worked with. 
 
I must thank the NAD for their everlasting support and this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank you - the community - for being supportive during my two-year journey. Now, I am ready to let our new Youth Ambassadors lead the way for the next two years.  See you at the NAD Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this July! 
 
 
Video fades to the same soft blue and white background with the NAD logo centered.  Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2013 All rights reserved"
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[Note: video description and transcript can be found below].
 
Do you want an opportunity to share your voice and lobby for an important issue?  You can, during your caucus!  Jenny Buechner NAD Board Member for Region 2, explains more about what the caucus is.  Haven't registered for #NAD2014?  Don't worry, you still have time!  It's running out fast though, register by May 31, 2014.  Buy your tickets today at www.nad.org/2014atlanta!  #NAD2014
 
 
Video description and transcript:
 
Video begins with the NAD logo in red and blue.  The NAD logo then transitions to the same logo but in green and peach colors to represent the #NAD2014 Conference theme.  Video fades to white then to NAD Board Region 2 Representative Jenny Buechner in front of a black background.  
 
JENNY: Hi there! What is a caucus? What is the purpose of a caucus? A caucus is for delegates and community members within regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and affiliates to get together. This allows for discussion of what happened earlier in the day, during the Council of Representatives (COR) meetings. It's an opportunity to get clarification on what's happening, ask necessary questions, and so on. People who are running for regional board positions will be able to explain their goals for their term. Individuals can also leverage the opportunity to discuss issues within their states, and learn from others. It is a truly important opportunity to participate in the caucus for discussions on topics that are important to you. Come, join us! 
 
Video fades to the same NAD logo in green and peach before transitioning to the NAD logo in red and blue. Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2014 All rights reserved.
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[video description and transcript available below].
 
Want to learn more about Community Forum taking place during #NAD2014?  Facilitators Janis Cole and Juniper Sussman take a moment to explain why you should attend.  Register by May 31, 2014 at www.nad.org/2014atlanta!
 
 
 
Video description and transcript: Video fades to two women sitting down in front of a light green background.
 
BOTH: Hello!
 
JANIS: This summer at the NAD Conference in Atlanta, we are very excited to be hosting the Community Forum.  This is Juniper Sussman, a CODA and an interpreter.
 
JUNIPER: And this is Janis Cole.  She is Deaf, and an interpreter.
 
JANIS: The Community Forum is an opportunity for us to come together to discuss issues and concerns that are important to us. This will be a chance to bring up issues that we have not really had chance to delve into in the past.
 
JUNIPER: Exactly, we will share another video soon, with more details about the Community Forum. The event will take place Wednesday, July 2, 7-9 pm, please come join us!
 
BOTH: We are looking forward to it!
 
Video fades to black.

The monthly #NADHandwave recognition program is an opportunity for everyone to meet an individual who has contributed greatly to the betterment of the deaf community.  The NAD recently learned about Brian Fruits and is thrilled to award him this month’s #NADHandwave!   

He currently serves on the board for the USA Deaf Basketball Association as the Treasurer and the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf, also as their treasurer.  In the past, he has served on the Board of the Wisconsin American Sign Language Teachers of America for some time.

In 2003, he founded a co-ed softball team that consisted of both deaf and hearing players to play in the Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) league.  To this day, he is still the coach!  Brian played (and has coached) for various softball teams which led to several National Softball Association of the Deaf (NSAD) tournaments.  Currently, he plays with the CSD Blue Sox.

Contributing to the deaf community is important, Brian says, so that it can thrive and be strong.  He believes that youth is the key to the community, and without youth, there is no future in the deaf community.

Brian’s hobbies include hunting, gardening, softball, camping, ATV riding, and anything that involves spending time with his three boys and his wife, Mary.  He is currently working on his masters in Public Administration, and will graduate in December 2014.

The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.

The NAD wishes to recognize exemplary people and appreciates Brian Fruits for all that he does.  If you know someone the NAD should recognize for next month’s #NADHandwave, nominate today!

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[Note: video description and transcript can be found below].
 
Are you interested in running for a position on the NAD Board?  Great!  Larry Evans, NAD Board Member for Region 3, and Jenny Buechner, NAD Board Member for Region 2, share some information on the entire process.  The deadline to submit your application is June 3, 2014!  You can email elections@nad.org for any questions you have.  
 
 
Video description and transcript:
 
Video begins with the NAD logo in red and blue.  The NAD logo then transitions to the same logo but in green and peach colors to represent the #NAD2014 Conference theme.  Video fades to white then to Larry Evans, NAD Board Member for Region 3, and Jenny Buechner, NAD Board Member for Region 2, in front of a black background.
 
LARRY: As you prepare for the NAD Conference in Atlanta, some of you may be thinking about running for office on the NAD Board. There are various positions available for those interested, including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Regional Representatives for Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4. I'll let Jenny explain the process on how to run for a position on the NAD Board.
 
JENNY: If you're interested in running for a position, there are several things you need to do. First, you must be a member of the NAD for at least 2 years. Second, you must be a member of your State Association or an Organizational Affiliate for at least 2 years. After meeting those two criteria, you can go online and complete the Candidacy form for any of the positions. You can run for one position, or two or three positions.  If you are not elected for a position, you can still run for the other position you have applied to run for. You must send in your Candidacy form to the Elections Committee prior to June 3rd. The Elections Committee will then validate whether or not the criteria is met, and then the Committee will contact you confirming you are qualified to run for office. The Elections will take place during the NAD Conference. Larry, would you please share who is on the Elections Committee?
 
LARRY: The members of the Election Committee include myself as Chair, Jenny as Vice Chair, and then we have Past President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. The three of us will review all potential candidates for office. 
 
JENNY: We look forward to seeing you run for office! 
 
Video fades to the same NAD logo in green and peach before transitioning to the NAD logo in red and blue. Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2014 All rights reserved.
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[Note: video description and transcript can be found below].
 
Chris Patterson, NAD Board Member for Region 2, explains what optional events you can purchase in addition to your combo registration.  Even if you don't register for the combo, you can purchase these optional events individually using the non-combo registration link.  These optional events are available for purchase by May 31, 2014.  Buy your tickets today!  
 
Video description and transcript:
 
Video begins with the NAD logo in red and blue.  The NAD logo then transitions to the same logo but in green and peach colors to represent the #NAD2014 Conference theme.  Video fades to white then to NAD Board Region 3 Representative Chris Patterson in front of a black background.
 
CHRIS: You already know which events are included in the combo registration; I'm here to discuss what additional optional events you can purchase!  You can purchase the OGG Breakfast, GLBT Luncheon, Youth Luncheon, and the Senior Citizen Luncheon.  You must register for these additional events before May 31st.  Come and join us!
 
Video fades to the same NAD logo in green and peach before transitioning to the NAD logo in red and blue. Black text below the logo appears, "A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2014 All rights reserved.