:: Together, We Move Forward ::

Together, We Move Forward: ”

(ASL Video message)

(*Text below is an English translation of the ASL video message*)

Hello, my name is Bobbie Beth Scoggins, your NAD President for the 2006-2008 biennium.

The theme I’d like to share with you is ‘Together, We Move Forward.’ This is about the NAD, which as you know, has been around since 1880. We’ve fought for many things.

The original motivation for the establishment of the NAD was to fight for the right to use our own language, i.e., ASL. At the time ASL had been banned. The NAD fought successfully to protect our culture and our sign language, and now today, we enjoy that right and freedom. The NAD has now come in a complete circle. Today, as the President, I have adopted ‘Together We Move Forward’ as the driving force for our organization. That means the advancement of the NAD is for ALL; it is not about the white people, not about the ivory tower people, not about ‘those’ people. It is about everybody, you, me, and others, all Deaf Americans.

The NAD is now at a crossroads, trying to decide where to go next. In the past, people argued and debated about whether the NAD was relevant for them. If we do not, as a group, advance together, then what will become of our civil rights movement? Facing us are employment, SSI, and SDI issues. What are we going to do about those issues? Colleges and universities? Education? Education for deaf and hard of hearing children, public services, captioning, emerging technologies such as pagers, DVDs having captions, Instant Messaging, and now vlogs. Where are we in regard to our civil rights within hearing America?

Now, as Deaf Americans, we know how to cope with our unique, rare identity, but how do we integrate that with America as a whole? Our needs, especially communication needs and communication access, are not understood. In order to accomplish understanding, we need everyone to be involved. I want to see, in the next two years and beyond, all of us in it together regardless of our differences, our diversity…together we move forward into the future.

Changes on the Agenda

There are changes on the agenda. Many exciting things are happening now at the NAD—for the very first time in the history of the NAD a majority of board members are female! Wow, a diversity of perspectives, diversity of backgrounds, and the different cultures we come from are all represented on the Board. Our common thread is that we all sign. I am thrilled to be the President for this term and I can see an exciting future.

Our focus for the next two years is first on diversity issues within the NAD family. Secondly, envisioning 2020 and what the future for the deaf community will look like for the next 13 years. That means we must imagine what the NAD and Deaf Americans will be doing the next 13 years and what we want our deaf world to be. Plus, we are also looking at many new changes within the NAD family: from senior citizens and aging issues to youth issues. People often think the NAD focuses narrowly on civil rights advocacy, but the actual reality is that the NAD also works on a broad range of issues. So we’re really excited about the new changes coming in the near future.

As you know, every two years, the NAD holds conferences attended by many people. The conferences feel like family reunions because the Deaf community is quite close, strongly connected, and we share common kinship. People come to NAD conferences to support each other, to support others’ activities in their home states, to support state associations, and to support the NAD itself on advocacy, interpreting, and technology, issues, etc. From all over, we come to discuss what is most important to us, and at the same time, old and new friends all meet and greet each other, like a family reunion. We all cherish the familiar with NAD conferences, but, we always have something new to draw more people.

 

Civil and Human Rights

This is the first vlog of many more to come. I’m thrilled to chat with you about civil rights advocacy and its underlying purpose. There are many different issues out there which Deaf people face everyday. You know and I know the one common thread joining all of those issues together, is communication. What the NAD can do for you is to confront those issues and you can join us to see that we do what you envision and to help the NAD in doing for all deaf Americans.

 

Future of the NAD

The future of the NAD looks like what? It looks absolutely thrilling. The NAD Board and I are in discussion with many different groups to come up with ideas for the future. We want to hear your vision of what the future will look like for Deaf Americans. We want you to join the NAD and see what the NAD has been up to lately. This will help us better understand your vision of what the NAD should look like. Come join with us.”

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