National Association of the Deaf - NAD.org
We want you to share what you know, experienced, want, or discovered at the next Biennial NAD Conference this July in Hartford, Connecticut! #NAD2018Submit your workshop interest!
As we continue to plan and organize events for the next Biennial NAD Conference this summer in Hartford, Connecticut — we’d like to share our theme! The ASL talent is Laurent Clerc himself; iIllustration done by Yiqiao Wang with story concept decided by the NAD Board.
Denying Deaf Citizen Access to State Senate and House Implicates First Amendment Rights
Oklahoma City, OK – A federal court has ruled that claims filed against the State of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Senate, the Oklahoma House of Representatives and state officials for discrimination against a deaf citizen may proceed. In a critical victory for citizen engagement and equal rights, the Court held that denying a deaf citizen captioning that is necessary for him to access state legislative proceedings available to others implicates the First Amendment and the fundamental right of access to political proceedings.
In 2015, Johnny Reininger, Jr. who is deaf, requested that the Oklahoma Senate and House caption their proceedings that are streamed online. Reininger, who closely follows state politics, needs captioning in order to have meaningful access to the streamed content that is available to other citizens who can hear. Although the legislature initially agreed to caption the online content in response to Reininger’s requests, it later retracted its promise to caption. Reininger filed suit in October 2016 seeking captioning of the legislative proceedings that are streamed online, but the State, Senate, and House moved to dismiss Reininger’s case, arguing that it could not be sued for disability discrimination because of sovereign immunity.
Citing the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances and the right of access to information conveyed via internet broadcasting about state legislative matters, the Court rejected the State’s arguments and held that the important issue at stake was a citizen’s right to participate in the political process and to have meaningful access to the tools necessary for such participation.
The Court decision clears the way for Reininger’s case to proceed. He is hopeful that the legislature will soon take steps to provide him and other deaf citizens with equal access to the information necessary to meaningfully participate in the political process. “When I don’t have access to legislative proceedings, my ability to be an informed voter and to hold my elected representatives accountable is restricted,” said Reininger.
Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf, heralded the decision as a important one for every citizen saying, “This Court decision confirms that participation in government is an essential right for all Americans.” He added, “When elected officials deny people access to information about the political process on the basis of disability, their actions threaten the constitutional rights of everyone and must be stopped to ensure equal access for all.”
Reininger is represented by the National Association of the Deaf, Stein & Vargas, LLP, and the Oklahoma Disability Law Center.
The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for, deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.
Stein & Vargas, LLP is a civil rights firm based in Washington, D.C. and committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of society.
The Oklahoma Disability Law Center is a system of protection and advocacy for people with disabilities in the State of Oklahoma.
- National Association of the Deaf
- Oklahoma Disability Law Center
- Stein & Vargas, LLP
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is excited to welcome Chanel Gleicher, our new Director of Youth Programs! Chanel will oversee all four NAD youth programs: College Bowl, Jr. NAD, Youth Ambassador Program, and Youth Leadership Camp.
Chanel, a Maryland native, is passionate about youth leadership. Chanel received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with minors in Writing and Graphic Design from Gallaudet University and holds a Masters’ degree in Project Management and concentration in Leadership from Northeastern University. Chanel has participated in several of NAD youth programs personally and professionally. She won the last title of Miss Deaf America at the 2012 NAD Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Through the experience, she found her love for volunteering and completed over 200 hours of volunteering for various organizations. She has participated in the NAD Youth Leadership Camp both as a student and as staff. She has also served as a Board Member for the Maryland Association of the Deaf (MDAD) and as a delegate for the US-Indonesia Youth Leadership Program. In her leisure time, Chanel and her fiancé, Ryan, enjoy exercising, travelling, and rooting for the Ravens. They also enjoy spending time with their husky pup, Coco. Chanel looks forward to work with NAD Youth Programs and our deaf youth leaders!
“We are delighted to have Chanel Gleicher join the NAD team as our Director of Youth Programs, and we know she will bring a new perspective and energy to all of the youth programs,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO. “We look forward to her leadership in channeling the talents and promise of all deaf and hard of hearing youth across the country.”
“I am beyond thrilled to share my knowledge and passion in working with our deaf and hard of hearing youth by empowering and strengthening their leadership and advocacy skills,” Chanel commented.
Chanel is with the delegates at the Jr. NAD National Conference in Ashland, Nebraska this week. After the Jr. NAD Conference, Chanel will meet with individual committees for College Bowl and Youth Ambassador Program to continue planning for the next Biennial NAD Conference in Hartford, Connecticut. Additionally, she will also jump in and get started on preparations for the next Youth Leadership Camp this summer. Her sleeves are rolled up and she’s ready!
The NAD Youth Leadership Programs prepare young deaf and hard of hearing Americans to become future leaders and advocates by increasing their self-determination, sense of community, and thirst for knowledge. These programs include the Jr. National Association of the Deaf (Jr. NAD) chapter network and biennial conferences, the annual NAD Youth Leadership Camp (YLC), the biennial Youth Ambassador Program (YAP), and the biennial College Bowl (CoBo) competition.