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SPRING 2017 Volume 10, Issues 2 & 3

Over 400 people attended DDW’s 7th Annual Rochester Benefit. read more on page 10.

President’s Note: Shane Feldman

Board Members President Shane Feldman Vice President Erin Moriarty Harrelson Treasurer Michael Servé Secretary Mencie Hairston Carol-lee Aquiline Sophie Betts Alim Chandani, Ph.D. Joseph Hill, Ph.D. Marty Hiller Kimberly Kurz, Ph.D. Poorna Kushalnagar, Ph.D. Melissa Malzkuhn Roslyn “Roz” Rosen, Ph.D. Tommie Sarchet Steve Titlebaum Staff Executive Director Davin Searls Program Director History Estill-Varner Co-Founder David Justice

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About DDW

Discovering Deaf Worlds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the selfdetermination of signing Deaf communities through local capacity building in developing countries. DDW recognizes that all people, regardless of their social or economic background, possess the capacity to succeed, and deserve equal access to education, the workplace, and the benefits that society has to offer. For more information, visit www. 2


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As I reflect upon the past year, I am proud of how far we have come as an organization. It has been a challenging journey, but the perseverance of our dedicated staff allowed DDW to get to where it is. In this issue, learn exciting news brought about by hard work, our newest grant in the Dominican Republic through USAID, and our successful galas in Rochester and Washington, D.C., which continued to propel DDW to new milestones.

DDW President Shane Feldman and WFD president Colin Allen sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

WFD and DDW partnership Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” That is how we aspire to improve the world as we partner with WFD. DDW was honored to partner with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to support efforts in finding mutual grant opportunities for national deaf associations. Once these opportunities are identified, WFD and DDW will bring their respective expertise and best practices to training these national associations. We are eager to communicate with current and potential WFD members to explore ways to support their growth. If you know of countries needing support to grow their organizations’ capacity, please let us know. More information on this exciting project can be found at and Tribute to David Justice One of my highlights from the gala in Rochester was providing David Justice’s tribute for the DDW board, and all of the people who he has directly impacted throughout DDW’s history. None of the incredible milestones this year would have been possible without David’s dedication and sacrifice. I can personally attest to the purity of his soul and brilliance of his steady day-to-day operational and visionary leadership. DDW gave David a globe with a quote by Lao Tzu: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” This quote is a reflection of David’s humble achievements with DDW. David is a courageous leader who has touched thousands of lives over the past decade.

Continued on page 8

DDW Begins New Program in the Dominican Republic By History Estill-Varner DDW Program Director The DDW team is pleased to announce its newest program, a partnership with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to provide organizational development, capacity building, and human rights training to the Dominican Republic’s National Association of the Deaf (ANSORDO). This program is made possible by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as the generous gifts from our donors. We will be making our first trip to the Dominican Republic in August 2017. Serving as the program director for this ANSORDO Treasurer Alan Jesurum at the Deaf School grant is particularly exciting for me. While in san cristobal, Dominican republic. working in the Dominican Republic in 2014, I was introduced to the deaf community and have had the pleasure of following their work since then. I have seen firsthand the implications of inequality and a lack of accessibility. However, these barriers have become fuel and kindled a fire of activism that led to countless, influential changes. Soon, the National School for the Deaf will no longer bear the antiquated term “deaf-mute,” and many deaf schools across the nation now recognize the importance of a bilingual education. In September of 2014, deaf community members marched in support of recognizing Dominican our support, which led to the partnership and impleSign Language as the natural language and right of mentation of our current program. ANSORDO’s overarching goals are to encourage the deaf community in the Dominican Republic’s thousands of deaf citizens. When I returned to the Dominican Republic in 2016 social and cultural development, motivate deaf people on a Fulbright research grant, I collected firsthand sto- in educational development, lifestyles and sport, and ries on the effects of inaccessibility. It was clear that teach deaf people about responsibilities and rights of there is still progress to be made, but through these members of society. Mariotti has high aspirations for stories I learned about the resilience of the Dominican the program and as a result, desires to “better support, deaf community. I met several deaf people who, with- lead, and empower the deaf community.” ANSORDO out interpreters or support services, had completed Vice President Pablo Taveras hopes to “learn, be inpost-secondary degrees and others who had entered spired, and work together as supportive team.” In three short months, the DDW team will travel the professional job market, when many thought they couldn’t. Another recent triumph is the election of AN- to Santo Domingo to begin the first program phase. Similar to DDW’s work in the Philippines, first will be a SORDO’s first female president, Liliana Mariotti. One year ago, under the direction of Mariotti, ANS- comprehensive needs assessment to determine comORDO identified the need to expand its organization- munity and organizational issues faced by deaf people al capacity to build upon its previous successes. The in the Dominican Republic. Based on this needs asWFD recognized ANSORDO as a good candidate for sessment, we’ll work with a core team of leaders from Spring 2017



ANSORDO to identify the training topics they feel will most benefit them in their work for the deaf community. These topics could include data collection strategic planning, disability law, leadership succession, financial management, fund development, and many more. In the third and final year of the program, the core team of leaders will host a national forum on deaf leadership and pass their training on to deaf people throughout the country. The next three years working with ANSORDO, WFD, and USAID will certainly be rewarding and the excitement on behalf of our team can hardly be contained. We look forward to supporting ANSORDO’s continued long-term successes and accomplishments for years to come!

ANSORDO Executive Board Meeting

There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals. – Idowu Koyenikan

T R O A P N 3 O 1 F 0 2 THE YEAR S ’ W D D



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Meet History Estill-Varner, DDW’s Newest Team Member! In April, DDW hired its first full-time staff member since Davin and David Justice (DJ) began nearly 10 years ago. History Estill-Varner is the program director, and also serves as the point of contact for Washington, D.C. DJ: Welcome aboard! History: Thank you, it’s great to join the team. DJ: So, what was it about DDW that first piqued your interest? Why did you want to get involved? History: Through the generosity of one of DDW’s donors, I attended the Rochester benefit as an RIT student in 2013. What initially piqued my interest was that DDW’s efforts aligned with my passion for working with deaf communities internationally. As I learned more about the organization I felt identified with DDW’s mission, and the organization as a whole. Seeing the drive of both you and Davin, and the support from the Rochester community, I knew that I wanted to get involved. Do you remember that I asked you for an internship in 2015? DJ:  I do remember that! We didn’t have any openings at that time, but it looks like the stars aligned this goaround. It was your recent Fulbright scholarship in the Dominican Republic that really grabbed our team’s attention. Can you tell us more about that? History: Of course! My Fulbright grant focused on sign language interpreting services available to the Dominican deaf community. I wanted to better understand the educational process for the current interpreters as well as analyze interpreting service

History Estill-Varner DDW Program director deficiencies. I conducted interviews with the deaf community and interpreters, observed different activities, and attended deaf events. When I finished my research, I presented to the National Interpreting Association and provided recommendations on how to better improve their services. It was a great experience! DJ: Can you give us a quick synopsis of what you learned from your interviews with the deaf community and interpreters in the DR? Was their ANSORDO (see page 3) involved? History: Yes, ANSORDO allowed me to interview many of their board members as well as attend one of their community meetings. That was the most interesting observation because I was able to see the deaf community organically express their concerns related to interpreting services outside of my structured interviews. There was so much to learn that it’s tough to provide a quick synopsis. Overall, I would say the biggest take away was that communication is key. While it may seem simple, there are many issues that can be resolved or improved with better discussion between the interpreting and deaf communities.

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community needs, and it’s important to respect that. DDW does a great job taking those things into consideration.

DJ: Perhaps more of those discussions will take place, and hopefully improve during the upcoming DDW program. So what are you looking forward to most about working in the DR again?

History estill-varner is introduced

Also, sustainability is huge. Creating sustainable programs ensures that the positive impacts of your work are there long after you are gone.

History: What I’m most at the 7th annual rochester ddw gala. looking forward to is seeing the growth of DJ: Yes — listening first is the Dominican deaf so important before we community. I have been following their development act. This is a foundational value to DDW’s approach. since 2014 and have seen the sheer motivation and You and DDW Executive Director Davin Searls will be drive. I am confident that with the support of DDW traveling to the Dominican Republic this August. Can and the WFD they’ll continue to flourish. I look you tell us the goal for this initial phase? forward to the day they have the accessibility that they deserve. History: The goal for the initial phase is to facilitate a needs assessment with ANSORDO to identify and DJ: We look forward to that too and we have really prioritize the deaf community’s most pressing needs. enjoyed getting to know the leadership team This will set the stage for our trainings and the work from ANSORDO. Their enthusiasm is contagious! that we will be doing over the next three years. Together, along with WFD, I think we’ll make great strides towards achieving that accessibility. What DJ: In addition to the work in the DR, what’s one way do you hope to learn from the others at DDW, and you hope to see DDW grow in the next few years? DDW’s partner organizations through this job? History: I’m most excited to see DDW expand History: I see each program as a learning opportunity. and work in more countries. There are so many There are often common themes in the deaf communities that are doing great work, and DDW experience, yet each country has distinct challenges would be a strong support for their development and strengths. While we will be the teachers in some efforts. I hope to one day be directing programs in aspects of the programs, we will be the students in multiple locations at a time. others. Learning from these communities and our partner organizations will educate me on how to DJ: Well there certainly is a need for this work, improve my work and be a better ally to the deaf and we hope continued success in the DR will lead community worldwide. to ongoing resources and support for this work to expand. So outside of work, what do you do in your DJ:  Indeed, learning and teaching are both twospare time? way streets. With that being said, what do you feel is the most important aspect regarding international History: My biggest hobby is dancing. While I was development work? studying abroad in Costa Rica I learned the basics of a few Latin dances and have loved it ever since! I’ve History: Listen and be attentive to the community’s also dabbled in a bit of hip-hop, and am now learning needs. Often with international development, Kizomba and Zouk. Washington, D.C. has a very outsiders might impose their approaches and active dance community so it keeps me pretty busy! perspectives on developing communities without considering the whole picture. It’s important to take DJ:  Thanks, History. We’re so glad to have you on the community’s desires, culture, and history into the team and are confident you will help increase account when providing support. What has worked DDW’s impact in the coming years! in the United States may not be what another



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DDW Welcomes New Board Members Kimberly Lapine

A recent transplant to the Washington, D.C. area, Kimberly Lapine originally comes from Massachusetts where she worked in the nonprofit and education sector for more than 20 years. Lapine has served in several leadership positions in private education, vocational rehabilitation, independent living and community engagement, especially with recent arrivals from the Dominican Republic and Haiti. She has also been the principal investigator for state and federal grants, including the Work Without Limits Regional Collaborative Project administered by UMass Medical School. Lapine is particularly interested in unserved and underserved populations within the disability community, and the value and transformation of employment. She Kimberly lapine served as a delegate with a group of Massachusetts professionals, establishing a relationship between the Bo’ Ai School for the Deaf in JuiJang, China, and The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass. She has also served on several boards including as vice president of DEAF, Inc., and president of  DAWN.  Lapine holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and psychology and a master’s degree in public administration from Gallaudet University. She is an ethics specialist for the National Institutes of Health. 

Jessica Lee, Ph.D.

Jessica lee

Jessica Lee is an expert in monitoring and evaluation for foreign assistance programs, and an anthropologist. The first hearing student to complete the graduate program in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, she received the Veditz Deaf Studies Student of the Year award in 2004.  She has spent years studying deaf communities in East Africa, specifically Tanzania, and has worked as an advocate for increased government protections and programs for deaf people.  An adjunct professor at Gallaudet University, she is a consultant with the Department of State. She earned another master’s degree and a doctorate in anthropology from Colorado University.

Benjamin J. Soukup

Benjamin soukup

Benjamin J. Soukup is president and owner of Soukup Companies, a private business with holdings in several investments and entities including real estate, communications,and beverage and product ventures. The founder and board chair of Communications Services for the Deaf (CSD), Soukup has spent nearly 40 years as a human rights advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people. He has built a solid reputation as an entrepreneur, humanitarian, lobbyist/political activist, educator, and role model. He served on Gallaudet University’s Board of Trustees for six years, and then served as chair for another seven years. As former president of the National Association of the Deaf and a former U.S. delegate to the World Federation of the Deaf, Soukup has met with world leaders, presidents, and Congress members in efforts to improve public accessibility and increase public awareness of issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing individuals worldwide.

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Vice President’s Note: Erin Moriarty Harrelson hairston



(Continued from page 2)

Erin Moriarty Harrelson and Khadijat Rashid attend the undp Innovation Conversation. On Dec. 1, 2016, two DDW board members, Khadijat Rashid and Erin Moriarty Harrelson, traveled to New York City at the invitation of Dr. Audrey Cooper, the director of Gallaudet University master’s program in international development, for a panel hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Innovation Conversation. Rashid participated in a panel along with representatives from the UNDP’s Georgia office, the Kessler Foundation and National Organization on Disability. She spoke about the importance of involving deaf people in international development projects and provided solutions for how UNDP could recruit and accommodate more deaf people in their projects for people with disabilities. After the panel, Cooper, Moriarty Harrelson and Rashid participated in a dynamic round table conversation with members of the UNDP  Employee Engagement and Management Unit about employment of people with disabilities in international development. They then received a personal tour of the incredible United Nations building.  The visitors were collectively struck and heartened by UNDP colleagues’ clear interest in and commitment to the  innovation topics raised. They also learned a great deal from the discussion — and especially the participation of UNDP colleagues  in country offices.  UNDP is clearly committed to recruiting more people with disabilities to work with them, with the assistance of Gallaudet University’s  international development master’s program, and DDW looks forward to supporting their effort to involve more deaf people in development work.



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Gratitude to Outgoing Board Members Three departing DDW board members must be recognized: Mencie Hairston, Marty Hiller, and Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid. They were instrumental in DDW’s incredible momentum over the past three years. The sound guidance and insightful mentorship from each were invaluable for the DDW board and staff. Thank you, Menice, Marty, and Kubby! New DDW Board Members and Staff We are thrilled to welcome Kimberly Lapine, Jessica Lee, and Ben Soukup to the board; learn more about them on page 7. We also welcome History Estill-Varner as DDW’s new program director. She comes with experience in international development through her Fulbright scholarship in the Dominican Republic, where we happen to have our next grant. The infusion of new energy and talent will bring us to the next level of growth as an organization.

To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. Douglas Adams

Deaf Legal Advocacy Worldwide Scholarship By Michael Stein

regulations that result in the fuller inclusion of Do you want to become deaf people in society. a lawyer so that you can adShe will also represent invocate for the rights of deaf dividual deaf clients who people in your country? experienced discriminaApply for a new scholarship tion on the basis of their from Deaf Legal Advocacy disability. Worldwide! The scholar“My dream is to beship will help pay for law come a lawyer to fulfill school tuition in your counmy commitment to keep try. If necessary, the scholfighting for the rights of arship will also pay for sign Deaf people in Chile and Vianney Sierralta is the first recipient of the language interpreters so overcome discriminaD-LAW Scholarship. She lives in Chile and is you can attend law school. tion,” Vianney said. To be eligible, you must More people like Vianentering the fifth of five years of law school. satisfy two requirements. ney are needed. In most First, you must have a countries, deaf people strong relationship with your local deaf community are unable to find lawyers to advocate for their rights. and demonstrate your commitment to advocating for They struggle to communicate with lawyers who do the human rights of deaf people. Second, you must not know sign language and are unfamiliar with deaf have strong academic skills, including strong writing culture. In most countries there are no deaf lawyers. and reading skills. For more information and applica- Consequently, many deaf communities lack the tools tion requirements, please visit to navigate a political and legal system to advocate Deaf Legal Advocacy Worldwide is a 501(c)(3) non- for their human rights. profit organization that provides scholarships for deaf By providing scholarships for deaf leaders to beleaders to attend law school and become lawyers come lawyers, more deaf people will have the legal who advocate for the human rights of deaf people. expertise to translate broad notions of equal access We support the legal training of deaf leaders so they into the legal language necessary to include deaf can advocate within their countries for the implemen- people in society. These deaf lawyers ensure the partation of laws that guarantee the human rights recog- ticipation of deaf people in the political and legal pronized by the United Nations Convention on the Rights cess necessary to realize the promise of the CRPD. of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For more, please visit or email The first recipient of the scholarship is Vianney Sierralta, a deaf leader in Chile. Vianney is attending law school at an opportune time. In 2008, Chile signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. In 2010, Chile amended its disability laws but did so without the full inclusion of deaf people in the political process. As a result, Chilean law still does not guarantee deaf people full and equal access in society. Deaf people still face barriers in education, employment, and health care. When Vianney graduates from law school in 2017, she will become the first deaf lawyer in Chile. She will work with deaf leaders to push for new laws and

It always seems impossible until it’s done. Nelson Mandela Spring 2017



DDW Hosts Successful 7th Annual Rochester Gala

Tabitha jacques (left) and Fred Beam (third from left) lead an auction for DDW, as Davin Searls and David Justice look on. On April 7, DDW hosted its seventh annual Rochester benefit. Over 400 guests gathered at the beautiful Wintergarden by Monroe’s for a night of philanthropy, entertainment, and great conversation. Thanks to the continued generosity of the Greater Rochester community and over 90 local businesses, nearly $45,000 was raised, making it the largest and most successful DDW fundraiser to date. The evening began with DDW board member and benefit emcee, Thomastine Sarchet, welcoming the crowd. The gala continued with warm remarks from guest speakers, exciting news of a new collaboration in the Dominican Republic, and an important message from Davin Searls, DDW’s Executive Director. Searls shared the triumphs of the EXPAND program in the Philippines which successfully trained 1,700 deaf Filipino community members in leadership and organizational capacity. All of this made possible by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the generous donors who support DDW year after year. While the EXPAND program has recently come to a close, exciting work is on the horizon. DDW has partnered with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the National Deaf Association of the Dominican Republic (ANSORDO) for a three-year capacity building program supported by the USAID (see page 3). DDW also introduced History Estill-Varner as the new program director.



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Ronnie Medina (right) accepts DDW’s service provider of the year award on behalf of mirana medina. Estill-Varner takes over the role of co-founder David Justice, who has shifted into a part-time staff support role. Justice has given selflessly to the DDW for more than 10 years, and his work was recognized by the DDW board and staff. Also acknowledged during the evening was DDW’s Service Provider of the Year, filmmaker Mirana Medina. Medina collaborated with DDW, USAID, and the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) to create “Signs of Change: Deaf Filipinos Campaign for Equality.” This documentary showcases the hard work of PFD and DDW. Medina’s award was followed by New York State Senator Joseph Robach, who shared a formal statement of support for DDW and the important work they do in and outside of the Rochester deaf community. National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) President Dr. Gerard Buckley, along with NTID students Abdul Hamidu Yassif and Miko Arayata, expressed the impact of the Global Readiness Leadership Program, operated by DDW. The program works with NTID’s Center on Access Technology to prepare international deaf students at NTID to become leaders who are committed to the betterment of their home communities and deaf people around the world in collaboration with local and international deaf advocacy organizations. Araguacu Latin Dance Company wrapped up the evening with a lively dance routine that energized the

room and prepared everyone for a live auction led by Fred Beam and Tabitha Jacques. The live auction was a first for DDW and was undoubtedly a crowd favorite, raising over $8,000. The night was a major success, with immense thanks to event coordinator Sarah Gordon, many wonderful volunteers, a reliable accessibility team, and most of all, steadfast Rochester-area sponsors and donors. Sponsors included Phillips Lytle LLP, Susan & Scott Miller, Wegmans, Mateo & Betty Katz, Nixon Peabody, Justice Property Services & Light Commercial Plumbing, Convo, Soukup Companies, Joseph Neale & Marcy Oppenheimer, Interpretek, NTID International Educational Outreach, RIT/NTID Center on Access Technology, and NY Relay Service. Gala photos can be seen on DDW’s Facebook page.

(L-R): Executive director davin searls, co-founder david justice, and president shane feldman SARAH GORDON DDW’s 7th Annual Benefit Coordinator Please join us in thanking this lovely lady who contributed countless hours to the coordination of DDW’s most successful fundraiser to date! Sarah, who currently serves as Convo’s Rochester Community Curator, has been a loyal supporter and volunteer since DDW’s start-up days. Thanks to you, Sarah, DDW has crossed another milestone! Spring 2017



DDW Goes to Washington, D.C. for Second Annual Benefit On Nov. 5, 2016, DDW hosted its second annual Washington, D.C. benefit. The evening boasted an exciting program filled with guest speakers, a dance performance by Invisible Hands International, and DDW’s first ever live auction. With over 200 people, $40,000 was raised support DDW’s mission. Board member Roslyn Rosen served as emcee, opening the event with a warm welcome and sharing the evening’s purpose: to support a humble organization that impacts the lives of deaf people in developing countries. She went on to recognize the hard work of event chairperson Allie Rice and event planner Wendy Wiatrowski. Rosen then welcomed World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) President Colin Allen to the stage. Allen spoke highly of the support DDW provides and highlighted that it is the only organization of its kind “solely designed to support the needs of deaf people and their capacity development.” He went on to praise DDW’s most recent work: “DDW did a phenomenal program in the Philippines and is still working… and is now spreading into other countries as well. The WFD just wants to express our hearty congratulations to DDW, and our joy at continuing to work together.” DDW’s partnership with the WFD is invaluable and expands their impact to countries around the world. Allen’s remarks were followed by an emotional message from Dr. Judith Heumann, special advisor for international disability rights from the U.S. Department of State. She not only spoke of her experiences with the Department of State, but also used her platform as a call for action, which encouraged the support of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the United States. “Let me say that when you leave here, I hope that one thing you keep in your mind is that it is essential that we try to ratify the treaty next year… It’s in our hands to make that difference.” Her statements were a wonderful reminder that the fight for equality is one that still hits close to home.



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Invisible hands international give a captivating performance during the washington, d.c. benefit.

the wonderful team of ddw’s gala volunteers Rosen next introduced Hon. Patrick Chuasoto, charge d’affaires at the Philippine Embassy who spoke of a belief that DDW holds close: “the belief in inclusiveness and equality. Two principles that ensure a happy, healthy, and prosperous society.” He thanked the DDW team for their work in the Philippines and emphasized that “every single one of us should be a stakeholder in the future of our world.” Next, Invisible Hands International performed an illustrative poem and dance piece that demonstrated the important role of family in shaping cultural identities. “Generations have carried on their identity and their culture, and can stand strong because we have that heritage within us.”

(L-R): Gallaudet University President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano, U.S. Dept. of State Rep. Judith heumann, and wfd president colin allen Shortly after, DDW Executive Director, Davin Searls was welcomed to the stage. Searls was honored by DDW President Shane Feldman for his “tireless work, energy and drive.” The room erupted in applause to recognize Searls for his important efforts. There is no doubt that his work is the backbone of the organization. Concluding the honorable list of guest speakers was Gallaudet’s president, Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano. She expressed the importance of DDW’s intentionality of “working with the local communities, using their own languages and empowering them for the skills that they need.” She later echoed Chuasoto’s words and spoke of “the privilege that we have and the responsibility that carries, and that we can come together, here, ready to give back.” After Cordano’s speech,

DDW board members and staff demonstrate unity. the room opened for the live auction. Dinner with Cordano was the hottest ticket item, raising $2,100. As the night came to a close the energy in the room was contagious and another successful gala was complete. Many thanks to our volunteers, accessibility providers, guest speakers, and most of all our dedicated donors and supporters. Save the date for our next event on Nov. 4, 2017. The benefit was sponsored by: Gallaudet University, ZVRS, CSD, Federal Relay, Sprint Relay, Soukup Companies, Shane Feldman and Julie Tibbitt, Dr. & Mrs. Ernest E. Hairston, Herb and Roz Rosen, and Joseph Neale and Marcy Oppenheimer, among others. To see more photos, visit DDW’s Facebook page.

I am local, rural, communal. And I find that the whole world is a community. We have made progress in asserting our local community rights globally. We shall continue to do so. Tewolde Egziabher

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Signs of Change Film Fundraising Campaign Help DDW fundraise by showcasing our short documentary, Signs of Change: Deaf Filipinos’ Campaign for Equality!


You can host a… HOUSE PARTY Invite 10-25 people to your home or a friend’s home. Provide light hors d’ouevres and drinks, or ask guests to bring dishes for a potluck.

COMMUNITY EVENT Go bigger! Screen the film at a community hall, church/temple, school, or another open venue. Ask if you can get the venue and equipment donated!


Yvette Apurado, Vice President Philippine Federation of the Deaf

Reach out to a local university or school and ask them to host a film screening and presentation. Or have them email us to make arrangements!

Interested in hosting a film screening? Contact us at to learn more!



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f o e s p A Glim s a l a G Both

SOUKUP C O M PA N I E S Spring 2017



Using the CRPD as a Tool for Change By Andrea Shettle Program Manager, USICD

ership Readiness Program (GLRP). This program, supported by the Nippon Foundation under the NTID Sasakawa-DeCaro Scholarship, brings together deaf Perhaps the single most important worldwide international students at the National Technical Instideaf or disability rights accomplishment of the past tute for the Deaf (NTID) for evening classes and the decade is the Convention on the Rights of Persons occasional weekend retreat so they can learn skills with Disabilities (CRPD). This international disability that may help them as future leaders and advocates rights treaty upholds the human rights of one billion when they return home to work with their local deaf people with disabilities around the world, including rights organizations. 70 million deaf people. It protects a wide range of In late January, Davin and David brought me to rights from the right to life, to the right to equality, to Rochester, N.Y., to provide nearly two days of introthe right to access information, communication, and ductory training on the CRPD for eight participants. sign language. So far, 172 countries have ratified the I came partly to represent the organization I work for CRPD — meaning they have committed themselves the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD). to ensuring that their laws are consistent with the USICD works to bridge the U.S. disability community values enshrined in this treaty. Some of these coun- and the global disability rights movement. Its various tries have started to abolactivities have included ish laws that prevented advocating for U.S. ratifideaf and disabled people cation of the CRPD, and from fully enjoying their providing basic training human rights, while passsessions. I also came being new laws that protect cause I admire DDW’s mistheir rights. In cases where sion and its work. countries have successI provided the GLRP fully implemented and students with basic orienforced these new laws, entation to what an indeaf and disabled people ternational treaty is, the have started to experience difference between signincreased accessibility and ing a treaty and ratifying it, inclusion in society. the contents of the CRPD But in many countries, and the rights it covers. I GRLP Undertakes an action plan activity to learn the CRPD remains little also went a little beyond more about the CRPD as Andrea shettle explains. more than a piece of pathe basics to delve into per with pretty words. how deaf and disability Even in cases where the rights organizations can CRPD might lead to better laws, some governments help monitor CRPD implementation and hold their fail to implement and enforce these laws. The CRPD government accountable via the shadow reporting is, or can be, a powerful tool in the defense of human process. I also briefly discussed a few other internarights. But a tool will only have an impact if people tional human rights treaties that can be used in conunderstand how to use it and advocate for improved junction with the CRPD to strengthen human rights implementation. Deaf and disability rights organiza- protections. tions globally have a crucial role to play in lobbying I was greatly impressed with the students. It is imgovernments to make laws more consistent with the pressive enough that they have been sacrificing copiCRPD and effectively implement and enforce these ous amounts of their free time to GLRP training and laws. And that often means that current and future mentoring sessions with neither academic credit nor leaders in these organizations may need training. funds to show for it. But they also exhibited enthusiFor the past few months, DDW has been help- asm for squeezing every last drop of knowledge from ing fulfill this and other training needs for a cohort of our brief weekend together. At one point, toward the future deaf rights leaders via the pilot Global Lead- end of a long day, it became clear that their energy 16


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davin searls and nay lin aung discuss ideas for supporting the myanmar deaf community, which currently has no national association for the deaf.

(L-R): David Justice, Thomastine Sarchet (NTID Center on Access Technology), Nay Lin Aung (Malaysia), Miko Arayata (Philippines), Yeh Kim (South Korea), Ishwor Ghimire (Nepal), Mohamed Khamis (Zanzibar, TZ), Abdul Hamidu Yussif (Ghana), Roshan Mathew (India), & Davin Searls

levels had dropped: their body language reflected growing fatigue after hours of concentration. But although their energy had temporarily declined, their engagement with the content and their commitment to learning never faltered. They asked as many questions when they were tired as they did when they were fresh. It was clear to me that they were constantly striving to connect the content of what they were learning to the reality that the deaf communities in their countries experienced. They didn’t want just academic theory; they wanted concrete application. They wanted to know how to translate knowledge into action that would have a tangible impact on the lives of deaf people. I am honored to have had a small role to play in their long-term development and learning as future leaders and advocates. What I gave them was only an introduction to the CRPD and how it can be used to promote deaf and disability rights, including sign language rights. I hope they will carry on educating themselves about the CRPD, the rights it upholds, and the role that deaf organizations can play in helping to implement and monitor the CRPD. For more about USICD, visit Shettle may be reached at

Center on Access Technology

NTID International Educational Outreach

Spring 2017




Colin Allen, Judith Heumann, Patrick A. Chuasoto, Roberta Cordano, and Senator Joseph Robach: Thank you for your kind and inspiring words at our recent events. It is an honor and privilege to have your support. Betsy Finigan: We are so filled with gratitude and touched by your incredible generosity and ongoing support. THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING IN US! Sarah Gordon, Roxann Richards, Beth Noworatzky, and Jamie Munro: The seventh annual Rochester benefit was our most successful event to date, thanks to you. We are grateful for your loyalty, reliability, patience, and giving up so much of your time to make this happen! Wendy Wiatrowski, Allie Rice, Roberta Gage, and Nikki Reineck: A million thanks for your coordination of the second annual Washington, D.C. gala. It was a home run! Andrea Shettle and Scot Atkins: We truly appreciate your time and wisdom as guest presenters for the GRLP. You helped shed light on the importance of disability law, advocacy, and organizational development and furthered the success of this pilot program. Roz Rosen and Tommie Sarchet: Thank you for em-



Spring 2017

ceeing our recent benefits. Your charm and poise set the perfect tone for two incredibly joyous nights! Miako Rankin (coordinator), India Hitchcock, Carllee James, Mary Beth Morgan, Kara-renee Pepin, Billy Sims, Home Team Captions, Kim Kelstone (coordinator), Kristi Love Cooper, Lauren Dearman, Sam Gibson, Chris Kelley, Daron Ladson, Miriam Lerner, Aliza Meyer, Brenda Schertz, NTID Access Services, Hearing Loops Unlimited: Thank you for your exceptional service to ensure accessibility for all! Beth and Dwight Benedict, Fred Beam, and Tabitha Jacques: Attempting a live auction was a new venture for DDW this past year, and thanks to the four of you, we successfully raised an additional $10,000 for the organization. And we had so much fun too! John and Sheila Justice, Donald Galloway, Gerry and Judy Buckley, Carl and Michelle Justice, Scot and Sally Atkins: You went above and beyond to support DDW’s ongoing activities, and we are so grateful for your support. Thank you! Tiger Media: It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you the past few months. Thank you for upgrading the quality of our video production and social media presence!

Discovering Deaf Worlds Spring 2017  
Discovering Deaf Worlds Spring 2017