National Association of the Deaf -

Aarron Loggins to Perform at Super Bowl LIII

News from - January 17, 2019 - 11:23am

Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and “Empress of Soul” GLADYS KNIGHT will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LIII pregame festivities at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday, February 3, the NFL and CBS announced today. The performance will be televised live on CBS prior to kickoff.

“I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta,” said GLADYS KNIGHT. “The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year.”

Gladys Knight has enjoyed #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. Knight has recorded two number-one Billboard Hot 100 singles (“Midnight Train to Georgia” and “That’s What Friends Are For”), eleven number-one R&B singles, and six number-one R&B albums. She has won seven Grammy Awards and is an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Pips. Fall of 2015 marked the release of Knight’s first mainstream dance record, “Just A Little” in nearly twenty years. The song serves as lead single from her twelfth studio album that she is currently on. The year of 2011 was a year of much recognition as Knight was both honoring and being honored, first at a Michael Jackson tribute concert, and then at the 2011 Soul Train Awards.

Gladys Knight joins the ranks of many great performers who have sung the Super Bowl National Anthem including: Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Mariah Carey, Cher, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Idina Menzel, Aaron Neville, P!NK, Jordin Sparks, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Vanessa Williams, and many more. (A complete list of National Anthem performers from past Super Bowls is listed below.) 

In addition, on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), performer and deaf activist AARRON LOGGINS will sign in American Sign Language both the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful”.

The pregame and halftime shows are an NFL NETWORK PRODUCTION and will be executive produced by RICKY KIRSHNER.


Super BowlPerformerSuper Bowl     PerformerSuper Bowl IUniversities of Arizona & Michigan BandsSuper Bowl XXVIIGarth Brooks (Signed by Marlee Matlin)Super Bowl IIGrambling University BandSuper Bowl XXVIIINatalie Cole with Atlanta University Center Chorus (Signed by Courtney Keel Foley)Super Bowl IIIAnita Bryant (Pledge of Allegiance by Apollo Astronauts)Super Bowl XXIXKathie Lee Gifford (Signed by Heather Whitestone)Super Bowl IVAl Hirt (Pledge of Allegiance by Astronauts)Super Bowl XXXVanessa Williams (Signed by Mary Kim Titla)Super Bowl VTommy Loy (trumpeter)Super Bowl XXXILuther Vandross (Signed by Erika Schwarz)Super Bowl VIU.S. Air Force Academy ChoraleSuper Bowl XXXIIJewel (Signed by Phyllis Frelich)Super Bowl VIIAndy Williams & Little Angels of Holy Angels Church (Chicago) Pledge of Allegiance by Apollo 17 crewSuper Bowl XXXIIICher (Signed by Speaking Hands)Super Bowl VIIICharlie PrideSuper Bowl XXXIVFaith Hill (Signed by Briarlake Elementary School Signing Choir)Super Bowl IXGrambling University Band with Mardi Gras ChorusSuper Bowl XXXVBackstreet Boys (Signed by Tom Cooney); “America The Beautiful” performed by Ray CharlesSuper Bowl XTom SullivanSuper Bowl XXXVIMariah Carey (Signed by Joe Narcisse); “America The Beautiful” performed by Mary J. Blige & Marc AnthonySuper Bowl XIVicki Carr (America the Beautiful)Super Bowl XXXVIIDixie Chicks (Signed by Janet Maxwell);
“God Bless America” performed by Celine DionSuper Bowl XIIPhyllis Kelly of NE Louisiana State UniversitySuper Bowl XXXVIIIBeyoncé Knowles (Signed by Suzanna Christy)Super Bowl XIIIColgate University ThirteenSuper Bowl XXXIXMore than 100 representatives from the four branches of the military (Signed by Wesley Tallent)Super Bowl XIVCheryl LaddSuper Bowl XLAaron Neville and Dr. John with Aretha Franklin & Detroit based 150-member choir (Signed by Angela LaGuardia of Michigan School for Deaf).Super Bowl XVHelen O’ConnellSuper Bowl XLIBilly Joel (Signed by Marlee Matlin and Jason Hay-Southwell)Super Bowl XVIDiana RossSuper Bowl XLIIJordin Sparks (Signed by A Dreamer)Super Bowl XVIILeslie EasterbrookSuper Bowl XLIIIJennifer Hudson (Signed by Kristen Santos)Super Bowl XVIIIBarry ManilowSuper Bowl XLIVCarrie Underwood (Signed by Kinesha Battles)Super Bowl XIXChildren’s Choir of San FranciscoSuper Bowl XLVChristina Aguilera (Signed by Candice Villesca)Super Bowl XXWynton MarsalisSuper Bowl XLVIKelly Clarkson (Signed by Rachel Mazique)Super Bowl XXINeil DiamondSuper Bowl XLVIIAlicia Keys (Signed by John Maucere)Super Bowl XXIIHerb AlpertSuper Bowl XLVIIIRenée Fleming (Signed by Amber Zion)Super Bowl XXIIIBilly JoelSuper Bowl XLIXIdina Menzel (Signed by Treshelle Edmond)Super Bowl XXIVAaron NevilleSuper Bowl 50Lady Gaga (Signed by Marlee Matlin)Super Bowl XXVWhitney HoustonSuper Bowl LILuke Bryan (Signed by Kriston Pumphrey)Super Bowl XXVIHarry Connick, Jr. (Signed by Lori Hilary)Super Bowl LIIP!NK (Signed by Alexandria Wailes)Super Bowl LIIIGladys Knight  

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Gladys Knight’s career started when at 7 years old she came to prominence on Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour TV show in 1952.  Still performing over six decades in an ever-changing industry, she provides inspiration to those in and out of the arts both on and off the stage.  Few have matched her unassailable artistry.  The seven-time Grammy winner has had #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R & B and Adult Contemporary while excelling in film, television and live performances.  She has won the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Gospel Album” and recorded over 38 albums over her career including four solo albums over the past decade.  In addition to her musical endeavors and performing accomplishments, Gladys was honored in 2015 when a portion of Atlanta’s State Route 9 from Peachtree Street to 14thStreet was named Gladys Knight Highway.  In 2017, she and her husband, William McDowell, founded the Reynolds High School Community Foundation to benefit the renovation of the former high school into a community center for the Canton, NC community.


Aarron Loggins is an accomplished dancer, performer, advocate, and actor. He is currently performing on series including The C-Word and Shock Nation, and can be seen in a short film, Warriors of the Red Ribbon. He was the Mister Deaf International of 2014 and was profiled on Fashion News Live. He has danced with performance groups as the Wild Zappers and Da Jump Back, and has performed with the National Theater of the Deaf. In addition, he has acted in several theater productions including Who’s Tommy, and Sense-Able. His talent includes creating visually compelling American Sign Language (ASL) performances of music.


NFL: Elena Bakar,

CBS: Jen Sabatalle,

Gladys Knight: Laura Herlovich,

For more from NFL Communications, visit and follow @NFL345.

2017-2018 Annual Report

News from - January 9, 2019 - 11:50am

If you like numbers, this is for YOU! The NAD’s annual report for 2017-2018 is out and we have all the details and numbers summarized in an infographic poster. Find out what our social media stats were (in fact, one of our Ask Howard Anything video had more than 66K views!) or learn how many policy filings we made. Explore!

Deaf Referee Sues Georgia High School Association

News from - January 8, 2019 - 6:21am

Macon, Georgia – Donald Jacobs, a deaf basketball referee, has filed suit for discrimination based on disability against the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), an organization which regulates the provision of referees for interscholastic events in Georgia. GHSA has repeatedly refused requests by Jacobs and the National Association of the Deaf to provide sign language interpreters for its referee training camps. GHSA’s refusal to provide meaningful access for Jacobs violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

For the past four years, Jacobs has worked as a high school referee in Georgia and uses sign language interpreters. Without interpreters for the referee training camps, Jacobs is unable to benefit from the program which is required for referees to polish their skills and advance in the field to higher paying positions.

Jacobs loves the spirit of high school athletics and said, “I learn so much from working with high school athletes and I like to think they learn something from me too.” Jacobs added, “I just want the same opportunities as other referees. My earning potential shouldn’t be limited because I am deaf.”

“No person should be excluded from opportunities and advancements simply because that person is deaf, much less by any entity that stands for ‘promotion of education in Georgia from a mental, physical, and moral viewpoint’ such as GSHA,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf. “We expect GSHA to demonstrate good sportsmanship and legal compliance by ensuring that its training programs are accessible to all.”

Jacobs is represented by the National Association of the Deaf, Stein & Vargas, LLP, and the Georgia Advocacy Office.


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.

Georgia Advocacy Office is the Protection & Advocacy System for the State of Georgia.

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 National Association of the Deaf
    Lizzie Sorkin
  • Stein & Vargas, LLP
    Mary Vargas

Thank You for a Great 2018

News from - December 26, 2018 - 8:49pm

Looking back on 2018, we are grateful of our supporters. We wanted to take a moment to thank them for allowing us to do the work we do.

Explore our new NERC Site!

News from - December 18, 2018 - 9:36am

We’re excited to finally release the NAD Employment Resource Center (NERC) website! NERC is dedicated to promoting improved employment of deaf and hard of hearing people and will provide employees and employers a single location with employment-related information, statistics and publications.

Ask Howard Anything — November 2018

News from - November 16, 2018 - 6:27am

What do you think about automated captioning for live TV and captioned phones? Share your concerns with the FCC via VP 844-432-2275 or email #AskHoward

President Updates — October 2018

News from - November 5, 2018 - 9:06am

President Melissa discusses employment, VRI (including the VRI wallet card), and voting in the midterm elections in this video update.

Vote in the #Midterms2018

News from - November 1, 2018 - 11:49am

What’s the difference between the midterm elections and the Presidential elections? ASL Talent Brenda Falgier explains! This video is the first of a new series: Government Explained in ASL. #Midterms2018

NAD Family Expands

News from - October 31, 2018 - 11:25am

We are excited to share that four new staff members have joined the NAD Family recently! Please join us in welcoming Teddy Dorsette III as our new Outreach Specialist, Jenilee Marques as our new Front Desk Assistant, Sean Norman as our new Office Manager, and Brittany Schrader as the newest addition to our team of staff attorneys.

As the Outreach Specialist, Teddy will be working closely with Lizzie Sorkin, the Director of Communications, on video related projects. Additionally, he will be representing the NAD in various outreach capacities and working with collaborating organizations. Teddy is a filmmaker from the Detroit area, who is truly passionate about the deaf community. He has dedicated his time towards being a member of the National Black Deaf Advocates member, and served in 2016-2018 as the President of the Detroit Black Deaf Advocates.

Jenilee joins the NAD as our Front Desk Assistant where she will be providing support by responding to the community’s concerns and questions through calls and emails. Jenilee was born and bred a New Englander and eighteen years later, she found herself living in D.C. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her exploring D.C.’s hidden gems.

While we are sad to see Thinaja Nadarajah go back home to Canada, we are excited to have Sean take over as the Office Manager. Sean is responsible for all front line communications with the community and ensuring smooth operations at the NAD Headquarters. Sean believes a positive work environment produces an efficient functioning organization for everyone. Prior to joining us first as a part-time Front Desk assistant, Sean did not really know much about the NAD. Thanks to his experience since then, he has come to understand the daily operations that the NAD undertakes to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Earlier this year, the Law and Advocacy Center bid farewell to Debra Patkin, who had been with the NAD for eight years. Debra moved on to work with the Federal Communications Commission as an Attorney Advisor. Taking over her civil rights legal work will be Brittany who comes to us with ten years of litigation experience! Before the NAD, she worked as a senior litigation associate and trial attorney for Eisenberg & Baum, LLP’s Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in New York City. In addition to English and American Sign Language, Brittany also has proficiency in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese! In her free time, Brittany enjoys musicals, traveling and spending quality time with family.

Teddy, Jenilee, Sean, and Brittany — we’re glad to have you with us!


The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.

In Memoriam: Bernard Bragg

News from - October 30, 2018 - 11:56am

The NAD shares deep sadness with the passing of world renowned actor Bernard Bragg on Monday, October 29, 2018. Bernard was a unique and creative individual known throughout the world for his many talents as an artist, director, performer, poet, and writer.  The Board and staff of the NAD extend our gratitude for his many contributions on behalf of our organization and the world.

The curtains came up for Bernard as he was born to deaf parents in Brooklyn on September 27, 1928, more than 90 years ago. He attended the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood), and went on to study theater at Gallaudet. He acted in numerous plays at Gallaudet and even directed a play prior to graduation in 1952. From there, he taught at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley for fifteen years, as well as staging and directing student drama productions at the school. During this time he also staged performances for NAD conferences!

This was only the beginning as he went on to thrill countless audiences in many countries with his enthralling and entertaining performances for decades. He helped found the National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) and was instrumental in bringing it onto television for the first ever broadcast of deaf performance. His accomplishments are legendary: he has studied with the famous French mime artist Marcel Marceau in Paris; performed in Moscow with a Russian theater group; and trained Swedish actors at the prestigious Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. After he left the NTD in 1977, the NAD along with the U.S. State Department, the Ford Foundation, and the International Theater Institute jointly sponsored his world tour during which demonstrated the creative use of sign language within theatrical performances throughout 36 cities in 25 countries. Then he was a visiting professor and artist-in-residence at NTID and Gallaudet University, and also taught at CSUN. In 2007, he continued his work with a one-man show, “Theater in the Sky,” which had a nationwide tour across fourteen cities and its proceeds of $55,000 benefited both the NAD and the WFD.

The World Federation of the Deaf honored him with two of its highest awards: International First-Class Merit medal and Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1977, Bernard received a Special Tony Award for Theatrical Excellence. In 2014, the NAD bestowed him with the Legacy Breakthrough Awardduring the NAD Gala in the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California, for all the trailblazing and advocacy he has done on behalf of all deaf actors and the entire community.

“As a pioneering talented performer who has captivated the world’s attention, Bernard Bragg contributed so much to elevating recognition of sign language as a legitimate art form,” said Melissa Draganac-Hawk, NAD President. “The NAD mourns the passing of a giant, and is grateful to him for his tremendous legacy.”

“With his mastery of the arts and performances throughout the country and world, he did more to advance sign language as a civil right than many laws and lawsuits,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO. “We will forever be indebted to Bernard Bragg for bringing equality to sign language and our own status as deaf people.”

“Bernard Bragg was a pioneer who opened up the theater and acting world for so many deaf people to come, including me,” said Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin. “We all owe him so much for his amazing contributions. He will be missed by so many and especially by me, but I know he will be performing for all eternity.”

D.J. Kurs, who worked closely with Bernard in the theater and was a long time friend said this of his mentor: “He was one and only. We will never see the likes of him again. He came of age in the deaf club, where community members would work to advance the civil rights movement during the day and rearrange the chairs so they could perform skits and songs at night. He knew what was possible before any of us did, and his prescience allowed him to use his art to shine light on our community.”


Voting Questions Answered

News from - October 30, 2018 - 8:14am

POP QUIZ: can you vote in a state that is different from your driver’s licence? Or can you request an ASL interpreter at your polling place? Are you able to vote during work hours? Most frequently asked questions are answered in this informative video! EXPLORE THE HOTLINE!

SouthSide Works Cinema Now Offers Open Captioning

News from - October 18, 2018 - 6:56am

Pittsburgh, PA – The National Association of the Deaf and SouthSide Works Cinema are pleased to announce that effective immediately, open captioning will be available upon request for deaf and hard of hearing people at SouthSide Works Cinema. This was made possible through cooperative efforts by the parties after a lawsuit was filed by Kenneth DeHaan, a deaf movie goer who filed an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit alleging that denial of captioning access at the Pittsburgh movie theater was discrimination based on disability. The parties initially agreed upon a trial period of open captioning at the theater, and SouthSide Works has agreed to make this open captioning availability permanent.

Kenneth praised SouthSide Works for making changes saying, “In light of equality in this day and age of available accessibility, I am pleased with the progressive outcome ensuring that every paying customer will be able to enjoy the magic of the cinemas together.”

Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf which represented Kenneth along with Stein & Vargas, LLP, said, “The NAD applauds SouthSide Works for being willing to show open captioning at any time upon request, and setting an example for the rest of the movie theater industry.”

Anyone who wants to request open captioning of a film should make a request by noon on the day of the requested screening to


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.



  • National Association of the Deaf
    Lizzie Sorkin / 301-587-1788 /
  • Stein & Vargas, LLP
    Mary Vargas / 240-793-3185 /

Emergency Alert Survey

News from - October 9, 2018 - 9:38am

Did you receive the emergency alert on your phone or see it broadcasted on TV?

We want your input!

Ask Howard Anything / October 2018

News from - October 3, 2018 - 11:32am

Why is it important to be a registered voter when we contact our Senators and Representatives? #AskHoward

Court Says Website Access Case for Deaf May Proceed

News from - October 3, 2018 - 10:16am

In a case of first impression and a major vindication for disability rights, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Court has ruled that deaf and hard of hearing people are not required to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before they can sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act for a denial of web access.

The case before the Appeals Court was Eddie Sierra v. City of Hallandale Beach, Florida. Sierra is deaf and a disability rights advocate.  He requested that the City of Hallandale Beach provide captioning for certain video content on its website.  Sierra was interested in viewing some historical Hallandale Beach City Commission meetings but could not do so because the videos were not captioned.  When Hallandale Beach refused to honor his request, Sierra sued in federal court for violating his rights under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

The City of Hallandale Beach filed a motion to dismiss Sierra’s complaint because Sierra had not yet filed a complaint with the FCC under the Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).  A federal district court in Miami granted the motion to dismiss, meaning that Sierra could refile his lawsuit after he completed the complaint process at the FCC.

In his appeal, Sierra claimed the CVAA did not require him to file a complaint with the FCC before he could sue under other federal civil rights laws.  Sierra also argued that the FCC did not have specialized knowledge regarding closed captioning which required the courts to defer to the FCC.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the Sierra arguments and vacated the lower court ruling and remanded the case back to the district holding that the CVAA gave the FCC exclusive jurisdiction over matters arising under the CVAA.

Courtney Cunningham, a Miami-based attorney who represented Sierra in the both the lower court and the appellate court, said the Sierra decision was a reaffirmation of the rights Congress granted people with disabilities under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. “We cannot thank the NAD and Stein & Vargas, LLP enough representing Mr. Sierra in this appeal. The appeals court decision is a victory for Mr. Sierra and all deaf and hard of hearing people who advocate for web access,” said Cunningham.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the law office of Stein & Vargas, LLP also represented Sierra in the appeal. “The CVAA was being misinterpreted and we could not let this ruling go unchallenged,” NAD Chief Executive Officer Howard A. Rosenblum said. “A ruling that required deaf and hard of hearing people to first file a complaint with the FCC, before they could assert their rights in federal court, was a dangerous precedent that could have spread throughout the federal courts throughout the U.S.”


Courtney Cunningham, PLLC is a civil rights law firm based in Miami, Florida.

National Association of the Deaf, established in 1880, is the nation’s premier organization safeguarding the civil, human and linguistics rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the U.S.

Stein & Vargas is a Washington, D.C. based disability rights law firm.