The National Association of the Deaf (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 Americans.
The purpose of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center is to educate, advocate, and litigate on behalf of and to empower people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, or deaf-blind. The scope of our advocacy efforts is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, justice, telecommunications, and more.
Established in 1976,1 the NAD Law and Advocacy Center was at the forefront of the civil rights movement creating and enforcing rights to ensure equal access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing: winning the first case brought under Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 regulations; taking the first and second Section 504 cases to the United States Supreme Court; and litigating the first jury trial under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Today, we focus on federal legislative and public policy issues of importance to our community and frequently collaborate with other national disability-related organizations. We respond to hundreds of consumer and service provider inquiries every week; take on a few carefully selected cases; and provide technical assistance to lawyers who represent deaf or hard of hearing clients. The NAD Law and Advocacy Center is made up of a small, but dedicated group of lawyers, whose work is funded through NAD membership dues, attorneys’ fees collected through successful litigation, and philanthropic donations. We currently have one full-time attorney, two part-time attorneys, a Skadden Fellowship Foundation attorney, and law student interns.
The value of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center can best be understood through its extraordinary success in ground-breaking civil rights cases; the passage, implementation, and enforcement of federal legislation; and informed public policy. Our efforts have lead the way towards equal access and enduring justice, not just for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, but for the disability community at large.
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center has earned the respect of civil rights advocates and lawyers throughout the United States. Now, we need your support. If you hope for a future where equal access is guaranteed to all regardless of disability, please offer your financial support to the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
Together, we can make history.