Monday, April 16, 2018

Happy Birthday, Russell Harvard!

Russell Harvard was born on this day (April 16, 1981) in Pasadena. The 37 year old has already made his mark in both film and stage. The Austin, Texas native grew up deaf, communicating in ASL and lip reading. Harvard’s mother was born deaf and did not learn sign until she was six years old. After playing roles in stage productions at Gallaudet such as Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Harvard has had parts in CBS’ CSI: New York with Marlee Matlin and in Deaf West Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty. The actor played Daniel Day-Lewis’s grown son in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. He played the role of Matt Hamil in the 2010 film The Hammer.  Harvard won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance in the Off Broadway show Tribes and played a role in Deaf West Theater's Spring Awakening. He played a hit man in the FX series Fargo. He received a BA in Theater Arts from Gallaudet University in 2008.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some hospital services for the deaf discontinued in RI

The Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing plans to discontinue some of its emergency after-hours interpreter referral service for hospital emergencies starting this summer. Read the full story in the Providence Journal here.

This Day in History: the first public school for the deaf opened

It was on this day (April 15) in 1817 that the American School for the Deaf, the first public school for the deaf, opened its doors. Founded by Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet, the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut is more than 200 years old.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Deaf Kids Get Bullied More

About half of adolescents with hearing loss say they have been bullied. Less than a third of other children say the same thing. That's the finding of a new student out of UT Dallas. More than one-fourth of adolescents with hearing loss indicated they felt left out of social activities, compared to only 5 percent of the general population reporting exclusion. Read more about the study here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

TV Producer Arrested in Death of Deaf Sister

Los Angeles police say a former TV producer is behind bars—arrested on suspicion of killing her deaf and partially blind sister. Jill Blackstone is accused of drugging her sister and putting her in their garage along with three pet dogs, which she set on fire. Read more in the LA Times here.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When Sign Language Is a Superpower

This Friday (April 13) the film Sign Gene will begin showing at the Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles—its U.S. debut. The Pacific Standard reports, "The plot centers on an international band of deaf people, who, thanks to a genetic mutation, can channel superpowers through their use of sign language. The independent film is a fast-paced, genre-bending romp, shot on three continents with a cast made up entirely of deaf actors and CODAs." Read the full Pacific Standard article here. The trailer for the film is below.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How 'Deaf President Now' Changed America

"Deaf President Now stands as a watershed moment in the history not just of Deaf and disability rights, but also of American civil rights more broadly. As I spoke to people who had been instrumental in the protests, and the current president of Gallaudet, I heard one additional message: a fear that too few Americans even remember this story," writes University of Minnesota history professor David Perry. He has put together a "A brief history of the movement that transformed a university and helped catalyze the Americans With Disabilities Act." You can read the entire article here.
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Director Pushed to Cast a Deaf Actress for 'A Quiet Place'

image from A Quiet Place trailer 
John Krasinksi not only directed the new film A Quiet Place, he fought to cast deaf actress Millicent Simmonds as his onscreen daughter, according to the screen writers. Screenwriter Scott Beck told the Hollywood Reporter, “We always had a deaf character in the script, but John really pushed for them to hire Millicent. She came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film." Read the full story here.

On this day in 1864..

It was on this date, April 8, 1864, that President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter to establish Gallaudet University.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Florida Sued over lack of Captions on Legislative Videos

A deaf man in Florida has filed a lawsuit against the state legislature because it doesn’t provide closed captioning for its online live streaming and also its archived videos. Eddie Sierra is getting support from the National Association Of The Deaf. Lawmakers haven't even bothered to respond to his letters and other attempts to bring their attention to the problem. You can read the details of the lawsuit here.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Deaf Actress Delivers "Powerful Performance" in Major New Film

A Quiet Place hits theaters across the country today. The horror film incudes Millicent Simmonds as one of the stars. The deaf actress has already made her mark in Wonderstruck and now she plays a pivotal role in this new film about a family that must stay silent to survive.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

This is the day that Helen Keller made her breakthrough

It was on this day, April 5, during the year 1887 when Helen Keller grasped the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet with the help of teacher Anne Sullivan. Her blind and deaf pupil had learned to memorize words but failed to connect the words to their meanings. When Anne took Helen to an old pump house Helen on that fateful day, she finally understood that everything has a name. Sullivan put Helen’s hand under the stream and began spelling “w-a-t-e-r” into her palm, first slowly, then more quickly.

Keller later wrote in her autobiography, The Story of My Life:
“As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten–-a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.”
Here's a video about Helen Keller (no captions).