“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman
Juanita Candida “Candy” Johnson definitely has the passion to be part of a changing world. She dreams of the day when people who are not part of the deaf and hard of hearing community are nevertheless educated on how to work with deaf and hard of hearing people. Ignorance is one great barrier to making progress in the community.
Candy has contributed greatly to the deaf communities in Michigan and in Florida. She worked at Michigan School for the Deaf where her parents graduated and she played an integral part of the students’ recovery by providing access to services and also guidance to the clinicians on deaf culture; in that process, she also did cultural mediation with the families. Candy was involved in the early days of providing interpreter services at Mott Community College. She also provided services through Social Services for the Hearing Impaired (now known as Communication Access Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CACDHH).
Candy has been an active part of providing services to adults in the community who have said they recovered from addiction because of the role she played in getting them access to help. She has gone out of her way to mentor young interpreters and has contributed greatly to the field by nurturing the next group of interpreters to have cultural sensitivity and skills needed. One of her most interesting jobs was to interpret for President Bush!
She does what she does because taking part in bridging two worlds is a chance to watch people become empowered to make decisions and choices of their own. Candy has always been a champion for what is ethically and morally the right thing to do, regardless of its popularity. She did all these things despite losing her parents at a young age, raising her siblings, and then having her own family. She demonstrated an amazing ability to find time to respond to the needs of the deaf community throughout her life, while juggling the care of her family and then her grandchildren. She is an amazing woman and wonderful supporter to her friends.
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community. This is a great opportunity for the NAD to recognize people who do the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to move. If you know someone who you’d like to nominate for a #NADHandwave, you can submit your suggestion on www.nad.org/contactus! You can learn more about the #NADHandwave with this captioned video.
The 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 advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.
From the NAD, we thank you Candy!