Deaf and Hard of Hearing Fight to Be Heard
Lydia Callis, a CODA (Child of a Deaf Adult), gained Internet popularity during Hurricaine Sandy as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s interpreter. Together with many other people in New York’s Deaf community, Callis is taking a stand against the violation of Deaf rights.
Approximately 208,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals call New York City their home, and many businesses target Deaf audiences with events like a Deaf friendly Happy Hour. Yet, the community still faces many barriers throughout NYC, especially in communication.
Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio has approved several bills that require the city agencies to take certain steps to be more Deaf friendly. However, a bill that requires certification of all ASL interpreters is still held up in the New York Senate. Callis, the owner of LC Interpreting Services, supports this bill and the impact it will have on the interpreting services available to the Deaf community.
This bill is even more important as Callis and other interpreters are receiving more requests for interpreters. Callis believes that companies are afraid to get sued for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The new found awareness of the 25 year-old ADA, caused by the Deaf Rights Movement taking place in New York and the increase in companies sued for violating the ADA, is finally getting the attention it deserves, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
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