Author archive for CSD

  • CSD

    Happy Holidays!

    - by CSD
  • CSD
    Gallaudet President Bobbi Cordano and Professor Lindsay Moeletsi Dunn from ASL and Deaf Studies Department greets onstage kickstarting the evening program.

    CSD Unites Co-Hosts Pan African Reception at Gallaudet

    - by CSD

    CSD Unites co-hosted an event celebrating the diversity and leadership of the African diaspora. Attendees watched presentations from individuals representing the mother continent and its diaspora. The fantastic presentations educated us about the status of Deaf folks in specific regions and encouraged intellectual discourse on doable and sustainable solutions.

    Event presenters included Isidore Niyongabo, founder of International Deaf Education, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL). Originally from Burundi, Niyongabo shared his passion for advocacy on his mission for access to education and a better quality of life for Deaf children and youth in sub-saharan Africa and globally through IDEAL.

    Kriston Pumphrey, the newly hired program manager of CSD Unites, brings his energy and passion to further the program’s impact. CSD Unites’ mission is to use equity and social justice principles to support issue-based mobilization in the Deaf, Deaf Blind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and CI-using community to address crucial needs, and enhance the current work of organizations and stakeholders in the community through capacity building.

    Pumphrey is excited and motivated about the future of the program: “It is my hope to continue to identify individuals and organizations that align with the focus of CSD Unites.  By creating and holding space, we can welcome others to participate, to share their thoughts and engage. I believe that when we do the work to build real relationships, we truly become stronger together. Rather than just being mere recipients of services and grants, communities need to take the lead in the development process by identifying and exchanging resources. Only communities know their local conditions and issues and they are best placed to decide what their priorities are.”

    The event was an amazing opportunity to connect and collaborate. Through making these in-person connections, we increase our collective knowledge and skills, building capacity and strength within our Deaf communities worldwide. We are so grateful to all who attended. Special thanks to fellow cohosts, Gallaudet’s ASL & Deaf Studies Department as well as Gallaudet President Office’s sponsorship in making this event possible!

    If your organization wants to join in Unites’ work, we want to know about it! Please contact us at

  • 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.