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President Melissa discusses employment, VRI, and voting in the midterm elections in this video update.

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Melissa Draganac-Hawk is standing outside in front of beautiful foliage, bright orange trees. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

MELISSA: Hi, I’m Melissa. In this video, I will discuss about three things: employment, VRI, and voting in the midterm elections. Our deaf community has long been concerned about employment difficulties for many of us. Some deaf people are working but most of our community do not have full-time jobs. We need to continue the discussion about how to address this employment problem. There are non-profit organizations that provide job trainings and support services. We need to engage in discussions about solutions to this employment problem including through social media, such as contacting our Senators and Representatives, as well as other people who make decisions impacting employment such as in city and local government and corporations. It is important for us to make it clear to hearing people who make employment decisions that this is a critical issue for our community. A good model for hiring deaf people is the “Signing Starbucks” that recently opened. It’s wonderful to see the store hire deaf people at all levels – including as the manager, the cashier, the baristas! If Starbucks can do that, other companies can learn from them and do the same. Also, I wanted to share that Starbucks gave the NAD a $50,000 grant to promote employment. As part of this grant, the NAD will put together a video series highlighting different careers that deaf people have. We plan to use the videos to show employment advice from deaf engineers, deaf business owners, deaf teachers, deaf scientists, and more. The series will be shared with young deaf people who may not have an opportunity to meet other deaf people. The goal of this video series is to plant a seed in young deaf people to open up the possibilities about what they can set as goals for their future. The NAD will also develop a way for those deaf professionals to connect with deaf students via live video conference, whether these students go to a deaf school or a mainstreamed program, participate in a Jr. NAD chapter, or and many other ways. I’m very excited about this project! On to the second topic — thank you for sharing your concerns about VRI. The NAD has been working diligently on this topic for the past six years, and have developed and posted a “best practices for VRI” position statement online, complete with ASL videos. We also developed a VRI wallet card that you can download from our website to print and show the hospital about your right to effective communication. For example, the VRI card makes it clear that it is unacceptable to have a blurry VRI screen or for medical staff to not know how to use or set up the VRI system. These are just a few examples of how the card can help you explain to the hospital if you have VRI issues. You can check the NAD website to learn more. And finally, the last topic – voting at the midterm elections! Some states have started early voting. I encourage you to vote. Some of you know what to vote for, and that’s great. Some of you haven’t started or are not sure how to start, I encourage you to use the NAD’s ASL Voter Assistance Hotline. You can call them and ask them how to register and vote, they will support you. Take the opportunity to check this Hotline! Please vote! 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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