2008 Conference Resolutions

Members at the 2008 NAD Conference in New Orleans voted on resolutions which serve as supplements to biennial national conference priorities, long-range strategic goals established by the NAD Board of Directors and ongoing or emerging priorities (usually issues-oriented) addressed by the NAD Board and headquarters staff.

TITLE: Meaningful Communication with Headquarters
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-001
AUTHOR: Nancy Rarus (Virginia)
SECONDED BY: Lee Smith (Maryland)
RESOLUTION: Whereas there is a need for a more meaningful communication between state associations, affiliates and headquarters;
Be it resolved that the NAD attempts to have a full-time position created to address this need.
ASSIGNMENT: State Association-Affiliate Committee
STATUS: Under review.
The State Association-Affiliate Committee has been reviewing this matter.

TITLE: Deaf Actors in Hamill Film
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-002
AUTHOR: Judith M. Gilliam (Alabama)
SECONDED BY: Kenny Davis (Louisiana)
RESOLUTION: Whereas Matt Hamill has received deserved recognition for becoming a lightweight wrestler, despite being deaf; and
Whereas Matt Hamill’s story is inspiring enough to merit portrayal in a motion picture; and
Whereas the producer and the director of this production have cast an actor who is not deaf in the role of Matt Hamill; and
Whereas the practice of using non-minority actors and actresses is generally held in disfavor, being equaled to the practice of white actors in black faces in earlier, less enlightened times; and
Whereas the casting calls were made for the film at Matt Hamill’s alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, were cancelled in protest;
Therefore, be it resolved that the NAD does on this occasion of its 49th biennial conference express dismay that in spiritual years of progress toward recognition of deaf people, that the producers of the film on Matt Hamill deem deaf actors incapable of portraying deaf characters, and
Be it further resolved that this assembly direct the NAD president to communicate this directly with the producer, D’Kee Miller of D’Kee Miller Productions, LLC, and with the Screen Actors Guild.
ASSIGNMENT: Board of Directors (President)
STATUS: Completed.
The producer of the Matt Hamill film has secured deaf talent for the lead role.

TITLE: Internet Charges by Major Cable Companies
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-003
AUTHOR: Larry Evans (Texas) and Texas Association of the Deaf
SECONDED BY: John Mills (Texas)
RESOLUTION: Whereas cable companies like Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Comcast and other companies are making plans to charge consumers for using the Internet over and above the current flat fee;
Whereas Time Warner Cable has already started to experiment with “metering” heavy users that they call “Internet hogs” and testing the reaction of those who objected to the charges for this “excessive time” used;
Whereas those said cable companies are intent on placing a cap on heavy users, including videophone and video relay service customers;
Whereas deaf and hard of hearing customers will suffer financial hardship if extra charges are made beyond the current unlimited access status;
Furthermore, deaf and hard of hearing customers must not let cable companies impair our valuable communication access;
Furthermore should cable companies succeed in getting their way, deaf and hard of hearing customers must be granted an exemption;
Be it resolved that the NAD develop a position statement on communication access of deaf and hard of hearing Internet users, especially when using videophones and video relay services.
ASSIGNMENT: Public Policy Committee (Technology Subcommittee)
STATUS: Ongoing efforts.
The Technology Subcommittee is monitoring efforts by Congress to expand broadband access to the entire country. Various individuals are working with NAD and COAT to ensure that broadband access is affordable to deaf and hard of hearing consumers nationwide. The Subcommittee is also working on a position statement along these lines, and this statement will include an argument against caps on broadband usage. The NAD filed comments in response to the FCC Notice of Inquiry on “Consumer Information and Disclosure, Truth-in-Billing and Billing Format, IP-Enabled Services.” Recommended improving methods to provide information about products and services, greater and improved outreach and education about accessibility issues, and questioning the issue of possible “caps” or extra charges for high volume users.

TITLE: Federal Employees who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-004
AUTHOR: Paul Singleton (Maryland)
SECONDED BY: Ralph Singleton (California)
RESOLUTION: Whereas, at the 49th Biennial National Association of the Deaf Conference in New Orleans, let it be noted that figures from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show the following:
• The federal government workforce increased by 135,732 employees between fiscal years 1997-2006, a net change of 5.48%,
• The number of federal employees with targeted disabilities decreased during the same ten-year period from 28,671 to 24,442, a net change of -14.75%,
• The number of federal employees who are deaf or hard of hearing decreased during the same ten-year period from 5,639 to 4,460, a net change of -20.90%,
Whereas the general membership of the National Association of the Deaf has determined that the decline of federal employees who are deaf or hard of hearing is unacceptable, and this decline contributes to increased unemployment and underemployment of Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing. This evidence of a serious decline in employment of deaf and hard of hearing employees does not support the federal government’s reports, which identifies itself as a model employer of people with disabilities.
Be it resolved that the National Association of the Deaf demand that the president of the United States of America and the entire federal government reverse this trend and begin immediately to engage in proactive and immediate hiring of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing across the executive branch and the federal government.
ASSIGNMENT: Public Policy Committee (Civil Rights Subcommittee)
STATUS: Ongoing efforts.
The NAD has made policy recommendations on this matter (supported by the Public Policy Committee) to the Obama presidential transition team through two coalitions, and seeks to work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Government (DHHIG). The NAD continues to be actively engaged in multi-pronged advocacy efforts to increase hiring by the federal government through joint efforts with and as a member of the steering committee of the Justice for All Advocacy Network (JFAAN).

TITLE: Deaf Representation on RID Board of Directors
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-005
AUTHOR: Nancy Rarus (Deaf Seniors of America)
SECONDED BY: Judith Gilliam (Alabama)
RESOLUTION: Be it resolved that that the NAD work with Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf on creation of a board seat to be filled by a deaf representative.
ASSIGNMENT: NAD Board of Directors (NAD-RID Leadership Team)
STATUS: Completed.
The RID Board of Directors now has two deaf members – Lewis Merkin and Debbie Peterson.

TITLE: Ruth Falk
CODE: 2008-LA-RES-006
AUTHOR: Tami Richardson-Nelson (Nebraska)
SECONDED BY: Richard McCowin (Nebraska)
RESOLUTION: Be it resolved that the NAD honors Ruth Falk, who is 99 years old and a 1927 graduate of the Nebraska School for the Deaf. She has been a very active member in the deaf community in Nebraska.
ASSIGNMENT: NAD Board of Directors (President)
STATUS: Completed.
Congratulatory letter mailed to Ruth Falk.