#NADHandwave: October 2014

Mary Essex

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) applauds Mary Essex’s leadership in the past few weeks on behalf of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Austine School for the Deaf in Vermont. Mary is the President of the Vermont Association of the Deaf (VTAD) and is also a proud alumna of the Austine School for the Deaf. To bring attention to the unfortunate closure of the center and school, she got people together to plan a huge march and rally within a few weeks after the closing of the center was announced. Mary activated a state with a small deaf and hard of hearing population, and transformed the community into a huge presence on the steps of the State House in Montpelier, Vermont. For this leadership, she embodies the mission and vision of the NAD through her volunteerism and dedication, and the NAD would like to recognize her for this month’s #NADhandwave!

With only a few weeks leading up to the march and rally on September 27, Mary ran around securing permits, organized a great line of speakers for the crowd, invited state legislators to draft and propose a bill, mobilized the Austine Alumni, and reached out to the social media community. Throughout this experience, she ensured clear communications with the local Vermont deaf and hard of hearing people, the Austine Alumni, and the rest of the deaf and hard of hearing community. However, she will be quick to tell you that she worked with many other leaders and a community to make this happen.

After growing up in Vermont, she did venture out and worked in other countries to advance the linguistic and human rights for deaf and hard of hearing people. Having returned to her home state to live and work, she had no idea that the rights of Deaf Vermonters were at stake right here in her own back yard.

Thank you Mary for advocating for the civil, human and linguistic rights of Deaf Vermonters!

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADHandwaves to people in our community. This is great opportunity for the NAD to recognize exemplary people who do the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to move. If you know someone who deserves a #NADHandwave, submit your suggestion online!


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 people in the United States. 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.