Author archive for CSD

  • CSD

    Changing Deaf Representation in the Media for the Better

    - by CSD

    What kind of stories do you see about Deaf people in the news or in your social media feed? What sorts of words, language, or images do you notice are associated with Deaf people?

    Are they stories of woe and despair turned into hope? Are they stories about overcoming adversity and challenges? Are they stories of people not letting being Deaf stop them from being whatever it is they want to be?

    That can feel positive, but these stories often have a dark flip side – an unseen narrative that implies that being Deaf is not something to celebrate, but something to get past, to overcome.

    For the millions of people who consume stories like this, unconscious bias can creep in, creating and reinforcing damaging misperceptions about Deaf people. Biases based on inauthentic, negative representation can affect everything from personal or professional relationships to the likelihood of being hired for a job.

    That is why CSD is undertaking a new initiative designed to address inauthentic representation, and the biases and misperceptions it perpetuates. Our new #DeafinMedia campaign will foster a healthy dialogue geared towards positive change. The campaign will be led by Jenna Beacom and Tyrone Giordano, with the support of CSD’s PREP team, and will be living mostly online and in the social media spheres.



    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup says, “I am proud of the culture that we have cultivated at CSD, with Deaf and hearing people working seamlessly together. We already know here at CSD that Deaf people have incredible value to offer the world—something that the world at large is slowly learning as well. With every story we tell about our community and the people in it, we can accelerate this learning.”

    #DeafInMedia will engage the public by interacting with the stories about us that are circulating out there. #DeafInMedia addresses three main areas: representation of Deaf people, Deaf professionals who work in the media, and audiences that consume media on a daily basis. #DeafInMedia is meant to celebrate good portrayals as much as it is to critique problematic ones, all in the name of positive social change.

    Tyrone Giordano says, “In two decades of working in news and entertainment media, I’m beyond convinced of the power of telling stories to create positive change, especially when stories about Deaf people are told by ourselves or with our active participation.”

    Let’s advance the conversation about Deaf people, and ensure that the stories told about us accurately reflect who we are: human beings who contribute to the wonderful diversity that is all of collective humanity.

    Visit the #DeafinMedia website here:

  • CSD

    5 Ways to Support National Disability Employment Awareness Month

    - by CSD

    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

    NDEAM goes back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October of each year as, “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

    "Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation."  -U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. 

    “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.” 
    -U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

    How can you support NDEAM?

      1. Join a  CSD Works webinar this month supporting employers who want to hire Deaf and Hard of hearing employees. Register or learn more about the October 22nd session  here or the October 24th session  here .
      2. Download our the new e-guide from CSD Works! Good communication with Deaf people includes understanding how to use sign language interpreters – whether that’s on the phone, in-person or over video. Our e-guide, “All About Interpreters” is a great way to learn more about how to best support Deaf employees communication needs in the workplace. Download it here.
      3. Show employers your #DeafEffect. Check out the NEW Featured Jobs webpage here. Apply for a job, upload your resume, or share with your friends and family who might be interested.
      4. If you live in Texas, sign up for the Job Club to participate in a free online 6-week training program. Get interview practice, résumé feedback and more in  ASL with Deaf professionals. Great for high school seniors or recent college grads! Learn more here.
      5. Visit our Let Us Work webpage, and share on social media!  The video introducing Let Us Work can be found here.
  • CSD
    David Bahar

    CSD’s David Bahar Named Co-Chair of FCC Working Group

    - by CSD

    CSD’s Director of Public Policy, David Bahar, has been named one of the co-chairs of the new Interoperable Video Calling working group for the North American Numbering Council (NANC).

    David Bahar

    David Bahar, CSD’s Director of Public Policy

    The NANC is an advisory body for the FCC that issues recommendations on the governing of the ten-digit numbering system in the USA. This new working group will issue recommendations on how to enable video calling using ten-digit telephone numbers.

    The idea is to create a system that will work as easily as FaceTime on an iphone, but would be capable of working with 911, with Android phones, and with CSD’s Connect Direct, for example. The working group will be looking at recommendations for making video calling as universal as telephone calling.

    The FCC’s announcement is here:

  • CSD
    CSD Social Venture Fund

    CSD Social Venture Fund Opening to New Applicants

    - by CSD

    We are pleased to announce that the CSD Social Venture Fund (CSD SVF), which focuses on Deaf-owned or Deaf-run businesses, will be opening to new applicants to its fund and business incubator on October 4th, 2018.

    For our second year (Series 2), the CSD SVF will look to support new business ideas, nascent start-ups or businesses just getting a foothold in their industry, and mature businesses that are looking to expand or upscale their offerings or operations. This year, the CSD SVF is broadening their category reach to include media productions, which will be accepted in the form of either a script or treatment.

    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup says, “The goal of the SVF is singular. We want to address the issue of low employment rates in the Deaf community, which is tied up in negative societal perceptions of Deaf people and their abilities. The CSD SVF has identified that an optimal point of focus for our efforts at societal change is through supporting Deaf-owned business ventures. These businesses are more likely to see the value in and hire Deaf employees, making them a most effective focal point for our efforts at increasing employment rates in the Deaf community.”

    For more information on the CSD Social Venture Fund and the application requirements, please visit

  • CSD
    Kari Cooke

    CSD Welcomes Kari Cooke as CSD Neighborhood Vice President

    - by CSD

    CSD introduces its newest Vice President of CSD Neighborhood, Kari Cooke. Kari began work on September 17th, 2018, and will oversee CSD Neighborhood’s efforts to share resources, build coalitions, and support collaborations between agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and the Deaf Community.

    Kari Cooke, Vice President of CSD Neighborhood

    Kari Cooke, Vice President of CSD Neighborhood

    Cooke has long had a passion for advocacy, and her work in that field started with her appointment by Governor Cuomo to the New York State Independent Living Council. She has also been a Policy Analyst for the Center for Disability Rights, and received a federal appointment to the Obama Administration’s FCC Disability Advisory Council. Cooke is the former Director of Policy and Government Affairs for National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), where she worked with the executive team on policy advocacy and strategic partnerships. Most recently, she was the Assistant Dean in the office of Pluralism and Leadership at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

    Cooke has been recognized for her work in the community by the Center for American Progress as one of the Top 15 Inspiring Young Female Activists, lauded by Deaf Women United as A Deaf Woman Making History, and was selected as a U.S. Delegate at the United Nation’s International Young Leaders Assembly.

    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said, “Kari’s list of achievements is considerable, and it became clear to us very early on that she possessed the qualifications and demeanor to provide CSD Neighborhood the leadership it deserves. CSD Neighborhood’s direct service and work with the Deaf community is designed to uplift every individual, something that is at the core of everything we do at CSD. We know that Kari has the same values at heart as evidenced by the impact that she has had throughout her career.”

    Cooke holds an undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of Pennsylvania. A special interest in community outreach and coalition building has meant she’s become involved in many local community and governmental groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Media Center, Senator Gillibrand Symposium on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and New Leaders Council (as a fellow).

    “My vision for my time in CSD is to deepen our connection with the U.S. Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, hard of hearing, and cochlear implant using communities; to create spaces for members of our communities that are isolated, mainstreamed, or disconnected so that they may find one another and build community; and to address the needs in our communities through technology, community support services, organizational development training, and advocacy,” Cooke said. “The team here is brilliant and talented, and I’m so honored to be part of their story.”

    Soukup added, “We’re incredibly proud of the work we do at CSD, and are even more proud to be able to bring in talented individuals like Kari who are already aligned with our mission values and goals. We look forward to all the good work she will do, both for the organization and for the Deaf community.”

    For more information about CSD Neighborhood, please visit CSD Neighborhood.

  • CSD
    Bradley and Ruan on the deck:

    Team CSD Contributes to Camp Mark Seven Experience

    - by CSD

    The campers gathered around the drone, excited to see how it worked. The two counselors, experts on drone operations, patiently explained to the curious young people, and handed over the controls. Gradually, the the little Mavic Air rose into the air.

    Bradley and Ruan on the deck: "Bradley Gantt (left) and Ruan Du Plessis at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York"

    Bradley Gantt (left) and Ruan Du Plessis at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    The counselors were Bradley Gantt and Ruan Du Plessis, part of CSD’s Creative team. They spent some of their summer at the Deaf Film Camp at Camp Mark Seven in New York, teaching filmmaking, editing, and drone operations. CSD was a primary sponsor of the camp, and also supported Bradley and Ruan’s participation.

    Bradley and Ruan were able to share with the campers their own stories of how they became filmmakers. They have known each other since they were fifteen years old, and they showed the campers the very first movie that they ever made together. This gave the campers a feel for how far Bradley and Ruan have come, and provided inspiration for how far the young people watching can still go.

    Bradley with campers: "Bradley Gantt and campers look at some footage". Photo credits: Amelia Hamilton.

    Bradley Gantt and campers look at some footage. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    In addition to the Mavic Air, the campers learned about the Sony A72 camera, the DJI Osmo X5, and the DJI Inspire 2. Bradley said, “They asked me if Hollywood uses that equipment and I said yes. They were surprised. But we wanted them to experience the real world.”

    It wasn’t all about technology though. The camp provides opportunities for growth and leadership as well. Bradley was especially impressed with one girl who was a director for a short film project. She was hesitant at first, but grew into the role. “She showed great leadership and balance,” Bradley said. “She made sure that her team was okay, and it resulted in an excellent, beautiful film.”

    Ruan Du Plessis explains how to operate a drone. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    Ruan Du Plessis explains how to operate a drone. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    Ruan said, “When I told them that each of them could operate the Mavic Air drone, I could see they were very excited as they impatiently waited for their turn. That moment when I gave them the controller — I could see the joy in their eyes.”

    The campers knew that there were some random white lines on the field in front of them but they couldn’t make sense of what the lines were supposed to represent. As they navigated the drone high into their air, the video it shot made it all clear. The white lines formed an enormous “I love you” handshape.

    With new technical skills, confidence, and a change in perspective, the young Deaf campers were able to see something they couldn’t see before. And we can’t wait for them to show us what else there is to discover.

  • Featured News
    CSD Learns: Dealing With Debt. Free Online Learning in ASL

    CSD Learns Launches New Course for Deaf Learners 

    - by CSD

    Knowledge is power. Even if you don’t have any debt yet, learning about debt gives you a powerful place to begin to work on maintaining financial stability.  

    CSD Learns: Dealing With Debt. Free Online Learning in ASL

    CSDLearns is providing a NEW course called “Dealing with Debt” about how debt and credit work. Based on Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program, this class features instruction in American Sign Language, English voiceovers, and the option of either English or Spanish captions. 

    Enroll in the #CSDLearns course “Dealing with Debt” today. You can learn in ASL and get the information you need to maintain your financial health. Watch this short teachable moment to get an idea about what you’ll learn when you enroll in the full-length course.  




    What is CSD Learns?  

    CSD Learns is a program that creates innovative, platform-based solutions that overcome barriers and increase learning opportunities for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals. Through CSD Learns, bilingual online courses are presented in American Sign Language with voiceover and captioning as well as screen-reading compatibility. CSD Learns’ courses are self-paced and include interactive quizzes and assessments for a dynamic and active learning experience.    

    Visit to learn more.  

    Read the Press Release about our collaboration with Wells Fargo:  


  • Engineering
    Photo of Charles Chaz

    Announcing CSD Engineering – Creating Technology Solutions Through a Deaf Lens

    - by CSD

    Communication Service of the Deaf (CSD), the world’s largest Deaf-led nonprofit, proudly announces the launch of CSD Engineering, one of the first-ever dedicated initiatives focused on providing technology solutions that fully integrate the Deaf perspective. CSD Engineering will be led by Charles “Chaz” McFadden, Chief Technology Officer for CSD.

    The main focus of CSD Engineering is to approach the development of technology through a Deaf lens, defining inclusive design and providing solutions that are beneficial for all. By developing technologies that truly integrate the Deaf perspective, CSD Engineering aims to eliminate many of the gaps and barriers of today’s new technologies, improve communication experiences, and increase opportunities for Deaf individuals worldwide.


    CSD Engineering Logo


    CSD Engineering is focused on creating more technologies that center the Deaf perspective and experience, from identifying current and emerging opportunities, to building CSD proprietary solutions, to collaborating with others to develop and improve their own technologies.

    “CSD Engineering speaks directly from the heart of our belief that technology can be and has been an equalizing force for us,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Christopher Soukup. “For decades, CSD has had a part in creating many new Deaf-centered technologies. CSD Engineering is not only a natural extension of our heritage, it will also serve a vital role in ensuring that today and tomorrow’s technologies provide improved experiences for everyone. We are excited that Chaz will be leading the CSD Engineering initiative, taking us into the future by building it.”

    Mr. McFadden has an extensive background in technology engineering and communications. Prior to CSD, his work experience included several years with General Electric (GE) Aerospace and work on naval sonar systems and communications satellites. McFadden received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and a master’s in business administration from Villanova University. He holds a Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) credential from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Additionally, McFadden is Chairman of the Board Directors for the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC) in Philadelphia, is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the RIT/NTID Alumni Association in Rochester, NY.

    “I am very excited about this opportunity to lead CSD Engineering,” said McFadden. “Without question, technology is advancing our world beyond our wildest dreams, and at an incredible speed. Yet, far too many gaps and barriers remain with many of today’s most celebrated technologies – voice activation and automated speech recognition among them. CSD Engineering will address these critical issues and, most importantly, put the Deaf perspective at the very center of future technology innovation.”

    CSD Engineering builds on CSD’s rich tradition of technological innovation through a Deaf lens. From helping to establish the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) long before it was federally mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the recent launch of Vineya, the first online marketplace for onsite or remote sign language interpreters, CSD has been at the forefront of finding technological solutions that benefit everyone.

    Find out more about CSD Engineering here:

  • CSD
    Vannessa LeBoss

    Announcing CSD’s new Business Development Manager, Vannessa LeBoss

    - by CSD

    Connect Direct is pleased to announce that we have acquired Business Development Manager Vannessa LeBoss, as of July 1st, 2018.  Given her 19 years of experience supporting and spearheading corporate expansion through finance, HR, sales and operations, her role within Connect Direct will be impactful. Connect Direct will utilize this position to establish and develop relationships for effective growth and implementation of direct services in ASL.

    Vannessa LeBoss

    Vannessa LeBoss

    Director of Connect Direct Craig Radford shares, “Given Vannessa’s extensive background in successfully expanding opportunities for the organizations she has worked in, my team and I are thrilled to have her onboard.” Ms. LeBoss has a degree in Business Management and has worked in the field of American Sign Language for nearly two decades. Throughout her career, she has laid an integral foundation of education and expansion related to appropriate utilization of interpreters and technology within the ASL community to businesses and organizations throughout the U.S., and thus brings an unparalleled industry expertise into Connect Direct.

  • CSD Learn

    Financial Education Sweepstakes!

    - by CSD


    (Computer required to create account.)

    Don’t miss your chance to win $100 Amazon gift card from CSD Learns

    A recent study showed that 40% of millennials turn to their parents and family as a source of information. But what about the 95% of Deaf people born into hearing families? Without a parent fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), that valuable financial knowledge isn’t passed down, leaving Deaf individuals without access to the tools needed to successfully grow and manage their money.

    That changes today. Thanks to support from Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking program, CSD Learns now offers free online courses focused on financial education, available in ASL with English voiceover and Spanish and English captions. Created with the Deaf learner and their classrooms and families in mind, these deaf friendly resources will inspire you to gain new skills and advance your financial knowledge.

    Enroll now for your chance to win.

    Enter the CSD Learns Financial Education Sweepstakes by June 29th, 2018 for your chance to win. All you need to do is enroll in our new course, “Interested in Investing“. If you haven’t made an account yet, it’s free and easy! You can even use your Gmail address if you have one.


    Find out sweepstakes details here.

    Financial Education Sweepstakes Rules and Regulations

    En Español:

    Curious about CSD Learns? Visit to discover classes on topics you want to learn!