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What does the NAD Law and Advocacy center do other than sue? #AskHoward

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

HOWARD: Hi. As most of you know, I love to sue. However, that isn’t the only thing the NAD does. We have a long list of things that we do and work hard to accomplish! We do many things not related to law or advocacy. For example, we host events, conferences, and youth programs like Youth Leadership Camp. We also have the Front Desk that handles calls and responds to emails. Our communications include the website and social media. These things are some of what we do that are not legal, and for the legal side, the NAD has the Law and Advocacy Center (LAC). We do not just sue. I have a long list of things they do so you know why I’m looking down to see the list in front of me. The first thing LAC does is handle intakes, such as incoming calls and emails. For cases that we cannot accept, we refer them to lawyers that can sign, or are willing to provide interpreters, or have other communication accommodations available. Often we receive inquiries about situations that require advocacy, and we provide our advocacy letters. For situations that are not resolved through such advocacy letters, sometimes we get involved to advocate further. The LAC also finds ways to make the laws stronger. We meet with legislators to discuss how to improve protections under Federal and State laws for deaf and hard of hearing people. We also discuss federal rules with government agencies such as: the Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Federal Communications Commission, and Department of Transportation. Actually, that’s a good example — the Department of Transportation handles Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and we worked with them to make it easier for deaf and hard of hearing truckers. Before our involvement, the Department of Transportation required hearing tests for all CDLs, but we convinced them to provide a waiver to deaf and hard of hearing truckers. We have been advocating to remove the rule requiring hearing tests so that deaf and hard of hearing truckers don’t need to apply for a waiver to that Rule. We have over 400 deaf and hard of hearing truckers! Our legal team also provides training upon requests on many topics including law and advocacy. Additionally, we also have some staff members who teach a disability law clinic at the University of Maryland Law School. These law students come to the NAD office and do a legal internship with us. In the future, when they become lawyers — they will have some experience working with deaf and hard of hearing clients. The NAD also has other legal and non-legal interns, including the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership and Advocacy interns — these interns acquire more skills to do advocacy in our community. In addition, we provide education advocacy by sharing resources for parents and families to know what their rights are and represent deaf and hard of hearing children so they can get the education they deserve. This includes advocacy for language acquisition from birth to five years old and for schools to follow the laws. We also get media requests regarding the NAD’s position on a situation that happened or to discuss issues that affect deaf and hard of hearing people. We respond to ensure deaf and hard of hearing people are represented appropriately in the media. We work with different organizations on various partnership agreements to advocate for our rights. It is important that we collaborate with other deaf organizations that represent different parts of our community to ensure that we don’t overlook their needs. We also partner with other disability-related organizations to advocate for some issues that affect all of us. The NAD also collaborates with corporations on various projects. Examples of such collaboration include: sharing input with Apple on emojis; discussing with Uber and Lyft on ways to improve the experience for deaf and hard of hearing drivers and riders; and working with Google to obtain captioning all of their Google Play video content. These are just a few examples of corporations that we’ve worked with to seek improved access for all deaf and hard of hearing people. That’s a long list! And those are not all we do, but I just wanted to give you an idea of the kind of work that the Law and Advocacy Center does besides sue. Thank you.

Video fades to a soft white background with several different font types showing “NAD” very quickly. Copyright video ends with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Blue text below the logo appears, “The National Association of the Deaf / (copyright) 2018 All Rights Reserved / www.nad.org”; a yellow highlight of the URL appears at the end.

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