DeafWire Edition – 4 May 2024

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps

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Howard leaves NAD

The former CEO of National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Howard Rosenblum, made a public announcement from his personal YouTube account on April 20, announcing that he is moving on from the organization. While Rosenblum did not make clear why he is moving on, it could be assumed to be related to the Deaf community’s concerns about the lack of accessibility at the recent Super Bowl. NAD’s President, Jenny Buechner, made a public statement following Howard’s video, confirming that he has moved on. To the Deaf community, this announcement came a little too late, as the Deaf news company, The Daily Moth, had already announced to the community on April 4 and confirmed again on April 19, that Rosenblum had resigned. For the Deaf community, this lack of transparency was another failure by NAD. 


Discovering identities in CODA camps

In a campsite in a national park in rural Pennsylvania, 10-year-old Jacob Ma is trying to learn American Sign Language (ASL). Jacob is a CODA, or child of Deaf adults. He can fingerspell a bit but doesn't know how to sign so he's been relying on his phone to communicate with his parents, typing what he wants to say and showing it to them. His dad, Johnny Ma, explains that he and his wife Michelle work long hours and haven't spent enough time with their kids to teach them to sign. The family lives with Jacob's grandparents, who speak Chinese instead of ASL. At least half a million people in the United States use ASL as their main language. For CODAs, growing up as the only hearing person in a Deaf family can often be an isolating experience. For Asian CODAs growing up in a western hearing world, an even greater cultural gap exists between them and their Deaf parents' world. It's what motivated the Metropolitan Asian Deaf Association (MADA) to organize a camp that would bring CODA kids closer to their Deaf parents and Asian culture. "I've seen other CODA camps here in America. We've seen they do exist, but they don't match our values," MADA President Clement So says. "We wanted to teach Asian values and Asian activities."

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Province recognizes ASL

Saskatchewan recently became one of four provinces in Canada to recognize American Sign Language (ASL) as an official language. This recognition happened when the Accessible Saskatchewan Bill was passed in December, 2023. An advocacy group known as ‘Barrier Free Saskatchewan’ had been advocating for this accessibility legislation to pass for seven years. They say that on the day that the legislation came into force, the advocacy group had initially planned a rally to continue their work in calling for action, but this suddenly turned into a joyful celebration as the legislation finally came into force, coincidently on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. 

The Old Fogeys


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THE OLD FOGEYS – View cartoon


Auslan used in Deaf artist’s work

Jaycob Campbell, also known as “Gonketa” in the art world, is a profoundly Deaf artist from Australia, whose vibrant and expressive work shows his unique perspective on language, communication, and Deaf culture. Campbell says he is inspired by arts and design in manga, comic books, pop art, and street art. Born deaf, Campbell's first language is Australian Sign Language - Auslan, which he says is the main focus in his artistic expression. Campbell studies the hand movements, shapes, and gestures associated with Auslan and focuses on its importance in communication through sign language. In his art, Campbell employs various techniques such as spray paint, enamel on canvas, digital art, and mural painting to convey his message across diverse mediums. 


More Deaf actors

In Canada, while films like CODA and TV shows like Echo have helped increase the visibility of Deafness in Hollywood, Ottawa actor Ryan Duchoeny says he'd like to see more speaking roles for Deaf actors in this country. 

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