"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

More on the Issue of Captions and the Upcoming Social Media Event

I've had some inquiries about this event coming up on June 6. I would like to share here my response with one of those inquiries here, because I think I little more explanation is in order for some who don't quite understand what this event is all about: (There is an example letter below by Jessica Thurber from the blog at Deaf Politics http://deafecho.com/2012/05/the-captionthis-social-media-movement-deaf-politics-sample-letter/ that is excellently written. Do be polite and respectful in your correspondences as she suggested).

The laws for online mandatory video captioning have already been passed. It is now a matter of enforcing the regulation for language accessibility for the Deaf/deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing impaired/hearing disabled. By using the #captionTHIS hashtag, we will be sending the message out to all the media that are not in compliance with the captioning laws. There were a couple mentioned in the video, and many more on the visual billboard that was splashed on the screen. It goes beyond Twitter, it will be on FaceBook and any Social Media website out there, but we will be using the #captionTHIS as the marker everywhere.

He mentions just CNN and Netflix not being in compliance and are currently being sued by NAD and other supporters for language accessibility. This all ties into the ADA, but the deaf and hard of hearing communities are always overlooked because our disability isn't "visible".  People think of physical disability, any that is visible and obvious.

Also, along with that, there is the misconception that all deaf and hard of hearing people use Sign Language. Not so. Many, like myself, had parents that were advised against using Sign Language. Also, we have people living longer, and because of that, hearing loss is a natural part of aging, yet they never had the opportunity to learn to sign. Some news broadcasts have a box in the corner of the screen with and ASL interpreter. This is great for those who know ASL, but not for those who never learned or for those who have recently lost their hearing. 

Universal means the captions help everyone, no one falls in the cracks of not getting the same information as the hearing, or those who depend on ASL interpreters. Everyone can benefit. Turning on the captions has helped children and adults alike improve their reading skills as well. The deaf community in Europe is experiencing the issues with captions not being available. Deaf community is a global community. I have people from over 40 countries visiting my blog regularly looking for information and help. This issue is universal on so many levels. 

So, in a nutshell, on June 6, we will be sending the message out and bringing awareness that we want captions for accessibility to language throughout all the media. The deaf are getting farther behind, as the gentleman in the video described, because we don't have access to language to online videos, or live coverage on tv, such as CNN or sports. We aren't included. With captions available to us, we would have the same information at the same time as hearing people. It's really a shame because the technology is here to change that, but so many don't realize that by not providing captions, they are oppressing the deaf.

I hope that helps explains this event a little better. It's about a positive change for language inclusion, accessibility. 

See more here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgSrZ-s3MTY
If you have anything to add to help shed better understanding on this, please leave a comment.

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