Hello, my name is Graham Forse[y], DCAD President. Happy new year! It is 2020 now!
2019 was a really good year for many, with many accomplishments. I hope your year was great too, and you are getting geared up for another awesome year in 2020! Maybe an even better year!
I am here to tell you about what DCAD have done in 2019. First, the election night. That took place last May, with a new board elected.
Next (secondly), all Deaf organizations met together to discuss their constituents’ concerns and issues. Many representatives from each organization attended this roundtable. It took place last Sept. There were about 26 different organizations from DC, MD and VA. The goal of this roundtable was to discuss and find some common issues and concerns. With that, it was shared and included in the feedback for the ODHH bill pending with the DC Council. Speaking of that bill, hopefully, there will be an update in roughly February. There seems to be still some review and adjustments going on with that bill on the DC Council side. Again, hoping for a vote by February.
Also, thirdly, we had 4 public board meetings in the rest of 2019. These meetings are public and tend to be at Northeast Public Library.
Fourthly, DCAD was at the Gallaudet Holiday Bazaar / Market. Many were able to meet us there.
Fifthly, we also had a Deaf Women in Govt Panel. That took place in October. There were a lot of people attending that, with a lot of positive reviews.
Lastly, some of us went to NAD’s NLTC Conference. That is, [NAD] Leadership Training Conference. It took place in Arkansas. Many of other state Deaf associations also attended. We covered a lot of different topics at there. NAD is doing an incredible job and achieving a lot of things for the Deaf community across the country, over last few years and many more years to come. We continue to set a lot of goals and shared a lot of information on what we accomplished. It was a very fun conference.
For the new year 2020, we can expect to see the following from DCAD:
First, a new membership form & system, to better manage our memberships and dues, hopefully more seamless and smooth. One thing in particular we hope to get done is automate these membership dues. You can look out for that in roughly 1-2 months. Secondly, we plan to roll out new membership benefits. This includes partnerships with various other local organizations and associations. We are in process of working these details out. Once confirmed, we will announce these benefits to you! Hopefully, you will soon find being a member of DCAD come with some perks. The next board meeting will be January 30, in the Northeast Public Library at 6 pm. We will sending friendly reminders of that.
Going back to the ODHH bill discussed earlier, That bill is still being revised based on feedback from many people in the Deaf community and organizations, and many other groups. Hopefully, there will be a polished bill coming out of all of these feedback, sometime in February. Again, thanks so much for everyone who came to the public hearing last October. Many people came and many feedback were shared via email and many other ways. They took all of these feedback seriously when evaluating this bill. I’d say, there were about a few hundred comments. So that will take them some time to sort through them. We want to be sure the bill would be inclusive of everyone.
In last year and this year, DCAD have gotten much more involved with the DC Council. We hope to continue that. A few key Deaf people have been heavily involved with DC Council. That has been key in several bills we have with them, especially the ODHH Bill/ In general, the DC Council is more aware of the Deaf community and their needs. In the past, it was easy to miss the needs of the Deaf community or be out of sync & disconnected, with communication difficulties. Now, that has changed, with us being more involved in the DC Council. It is recognized that the Deaf community is big and the DC Council is generally more serious about considering our needs. Really, that is wonderful.
We look forward to continuing the work with them this year and next year. We are hoping for a more structured and accessible to be engaged with the government, and services they provide for the Deaf community Again, I am very optimistic about continued improvements in coming years. The ODHH Bill is one of these very big steps forward, with many more potential opportunities up coming.
Also, the DC area has dramatically grown over last few years, with many new Deaf-friendly businesses. That includes many Deaf employees and staff, along with highly engaged Deaf customers. I have an non-comprehensive list of these businesses.
First, the Apple store at the Carnegie Library. Now, about 33 Deaf employees work there. Last time I checked anyway. Pretty awesome! For any Apple products, go get it there. Second, the Red Bear Brewing. Many of staff know sign so you can order things via ASL. Third, Mozzeria. That will be opening on the H St this Spring! Fourth, just outside of DC, is Streetcar 82, “S82”! That business is Deaf-owned. Next, the Signing Starbucks at the H Street. Well, everyone there sign fluently. You order entirely via ASL. Cannot get any sweeter than that. Next, the Chase bank just got setup on the H St, not too far from the Signing Starbucks. It has a pretty awesome layout. I highly recommend you to check it out. It also has a few Deaf employees. Now, to another business on the H St, near the 13th block, the Greenhouse. It is a co-working space, like WeWork with people “working from home”. Many people sit around in these offices. Now, the H St Greenhouse have several Deaf organizations working there. If you’re looking for a place to “work from home” or to look for a place to work, check this place out.
Finally, before wrapping this up, two things to mention. The Chase Bank on H St, as I just mentioned, I believe they are hosting a Grand Opening, Jan 24 at 9am. I have to double-check to confirm. Hope to see an email on that soon. So far, apparently, there are 6 Deaf people currently working there at Chase H St.
Secondly, we are open to having a social media volunteer help us share news like this! Help advertise cool events and news like this on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so go on. If you are interested, please contact us. Again, thanks so much for all friendships and adventures in 2019.
Now, we are ready to go through 2020, looking forward to more exciting adventures. For any feedback or concerns, please contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly with me, at email@example.com – Graham Forsey, DCAD President
Thank you again.