The National Association of the Deaf will host its 2012 national conference in July, with “Nothing About Us, Without Us” as its theme.
However, South Dakota Gov. Daugaard, who is a CODA, was announced as a conference presenter, despite his position against marriage equality and anti-civil rights legislation that he has either sponsored or campaigned for during his political career, including his service thus far as Governor.
See our CEO’s recent post on his Facebook wall, which mirrors a response we made to a post on our Facebook wall:
As of now, we have informed the NAD of that. Our position is simple and non-negotiable: We stand for civil equality for all.
But this year’s announcement had roots that you may not expect: We had wanted to do it for real. For months we thought of working with a small town in either Oklahoma or Maine and renaming it to Deaf, OK or Deaf, ME.
However, we figured it wasn’t going to happen by our doing. But we need to recognize that this idea has had a long history in the Deaf Community’s discourse, which often begins with the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, where in the 1700’s nearly everyone signed.
Deaf Life - April 2002 issue
However, our video announcement is probably closer to Deaf Smith County, where we don’t know of a “deaf” presence other than its name. This Texan county was named for Civil War hero Erastus “Deaf” Smith, and there’s even a brand of peanut butter named after it.
The example of Martha’s Vineyard has often been the basis of our vision of a deaf-friendly town, where all citizens are equal and sign language is the key that unlocks civic participation. Another is annexation; this concept appeared in Islay, a now out-of-print 1986 novel by deaf author Douglas Bullard.
Most recently, Marvin Miller has talked about founding a signing town named Laurent (amazingly, Google Maps shows it). You can watch his 2010 presentation at the aptly named TEDxIslay:
We hope to see a signing town someday, and you can bet we’d open an office there! We’re glad many of you enjoyed our April Fool video. Deaf, thumbs up! :)
Three years ago, on March 9, 2009, Convo was born. :)
See below for a message from our CEO Robin Horwitz:
In three years Convo has evolved to become one of the few certified VRS providers and the only deaf-owned player in the regulatory landscape. We are providing the best VRS possible to customers who are deaf as we are and impacting its future with a shared voice.
The past year has been remarkable. We received conditional FCC certification, went 24/7 in-house, expanded to Indiana and hit many service milestones. Those achievements point to better and more reliable services for our customers as well as a more secure future for all employees, both of whom mean everything to Convo.
Our customers and employees choose us because of who and what Convo stands for. You all are cake and icing and today we celebrate you.
It is our honor to have served you for three years and we look forward to many more anniversaries! :)
We would like to thank everyone for sharing their opinion on our recent comic (which has been removed). We never intended disrespect toward anyone and sincerely apologize for any offense.
We take everyone’s feedback seriously and are looking into ways to ensure that our monthly comic — which is intended to spotlight diverse artists within our community — achieves its purpose. If this is the first comic from Convo that you have seen, please check out past ones at this blog.
We asked Maureen “Moe” Klusza, the cartoonist, to explain her interpretation and her source of inspiration. Here goes, as posted by Maureen on Facebook:
“gotcha. i’m the one who drew this comic and i’d like to share how this comic came from beginning to ending product.
i was inspired from this classic comic strip of SMURFS… i first saw this as a kid and it stuck in my head for many years.
this is what i had in mind and i wanted to present the story in a deaf culture way. being racist or homophobic was never my intention. if you want me to fix it, i’d be happy to take suggestions. meanwhile, convo is taking down the post.”
The Convo comic is Maureen’s “deaf” interpretation of the original Smurfs cartoon seen here:
We take full responsibility for posting the comic. We took it down along with its blog post. Convo is opposed against racism, sexism, homophobia, violence and any form of oppression.
We need to point out that not only is Maureen an incredibly talented artist, she is also a wonderful human being who would never disrespect anyone of any color, orientation or belief. It is our humble request that every one of you do not hasten to judge her character and continue to support Maureen in her artistic endeavors.
We are currently contacting potential consultants and exploring several courses of action so that this does not happen again. This is a teachable moment for us and we look forward to creating positive changes within the company.
Once again, we take full responsibility for posting it. We thank everyone for understanding that we make mistakes and for giving us this opportunity to apologize.