On February 22, 2013, the Omaha World-Herald ran a story about Giving50x52 (which was very well written by Erin Grace!). By 2pm that day, Frank and Marlene Turk, who I did not know, stopped in my office at UNO and presented me a formal invitation letter and information about the upcoming biennial Nebraska Association of the Deaf (NeAD) conference in June.
This was the first time I had sat down and visited with someone who was deaf. We exchanged handwritten notes for about 15 minutes. They were both very nice, but I made no promises and said I’d think about it.
I thought Frank would forget about this, but he kept in contact with me and introduced me to Jonathan Scherling, president of NeAD. So I accepted their invitation and on Saturday, June 8th, I attended their conference to present briefly about Giving50x52 and to give NeAD a $50 bill. Below is a photo with Jonathan on the left and Frank on the right.
NeAD was established in 1902 as the chief spokesperson for all deaf and hard of hearing people. It is affiliated with the National Association of the Deaf, headquartered in Silver Spring MD. Both organizations exist primarily to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of all deaf and hard of hearing people.
Their ultimate goal is to enhance public and legislative awareness of the needs and interests unique to deafness specific to bringing to the targeted population the best possible American life.
The best estimates in Nebraska are that approximately 6,000 people are deaf or unable to hear normal conversation (0.34%) and about 70,000 people who are hard of hearing or have difficulty hearing normal conversation (3.93%).
The NeAD conference was well organized and attended (over 130 participants). The theme was “Gateway to Collaborative Partnership”. Everyone at the NeAD conference made me feel so welcome…it was truly a pleasure and an honor for me to join them and make a brief presentation.
Through my meetings with Frank and Jonathan and attending the NeAD event, I think I’ve gained a greater appreciation of the challenges of the deaf and of the importance for all of us to ensure that our community is inclusive of this wonderful population.