Conference Workshops

2019 NBDA National Conference
Building Together: A Community of Strength, Knowledge and Power
July 31, 2019 - August 4, 2019
Oakland Marriott City Center
Oakland, California

2019 NBDA Conference Presentations and Workshops
Updated 5/7/19
Subject to changes and additions. 

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#representationmatters: A Black Interpreter Educator's Experience
Presenter: Michon Shaw
Category: Educational Success & Opportunities
From the onset of the profession of sign language interpreting, the field has lacked diversity. Even less diverse has been the amount of Black/African-American (B/AA) Interpreter Educators. However, recently there has been a growing increase of B/AA interpreter educators in the classroom. The goals of the presentation are to demonstrate how #ReprsentationMatters, from the lens and perspective of a Black Interpreter Educator, discuss how to support students of color and to discuss how to continue to Build Together: A Community of Strength, Knowledge and Power through Black Interpreter Educators.

Beyond the Classroom: Mentorship and It's Impact on Underrepresented Females at PWI's
Presenter: Pamela Christopher
Category: Mentorship
The WOCHA program aims to create an inspiring vision of the future by enhancing leadership ability, building sisterhood, accessing professional mentorship and open networking opportunities for women of color in their second through fifth year of study at RIT.  The program exists of five foundational pillars; leadership development, financial literacy, self-esteem and empowerment, Community Engagement, and healthy lifestyle.

Black and Deaf in America: Strategizing the Future
Presenter/Moderator: Claudia Gordon, Esq
Panelists: Economic Empowerment Advancement by Duane Halliburton; Political Participation & Representation by Howard Rosenblum; Education by Ernest E. Garrett III; Employment & Career Advancement by TBD; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion by Pamela Christopher; and Chapter Development & Leadership by Ericka Olujie
Category: Plenary Session
For nearly four decades, the National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) has served as the official advocacy organization for Black Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in America. With more than 30 chapters across the country, NBDA remains a vital organization although at times have struggled to keep up with the pace of the community’s evolving characteristics, issues, concerns and priorities which differs greatly when compared to its inception in 1982. Naturally, every organization must evolve in order to survive; therefore, the time is ripe for formulating a five-year strategic plan. This plenary session will draw upon the knowledge and perspectives of selected subject matter experts on six overarching key issue areas that will inform subsequent interactive breakout strategic planning formulation sessions. Moderator will engage panelists in an enlightening dialogue and exchange designed to elicit the current state of affair on the six issue areas listed below with emphasis on the intersection of these issues with NBDA’s mission.

Black Deaf-Blind Experiences in Community
Presenter: Stephanie Scott
Category: Advocacy
This presentation will provide a better understanding of the issues surrounding the Black Deaf-Blind community by examining the culture and past experiences. This presentation will also offer a better opportunity to educate attendees of the available resources for individuals who are Black Deaf-Blind with the support of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Includdes hands-on activity and debrief discussion at the conclusion of workshop.

Black Nonprofit Leadership and Management in the Age of Social Media
Presenter: Richard McCowin
Category: Leadership Development & Mentoring
The presentation focuses on Black Nonprofit leaders requiring more nonprofit-specific skills and experience. They need to be adept at managing multiple priorities, management, fundraising and advocacy.  The stakeholders can be included board members, employees, and donors, etc. Their skills have to include decision making, resource management, strong administration, great communication, vision and passion.

Building a Strong Business Etiquette for Success!
Presenters: Ritchie Bryant & Russell Stein
Category: Economic Empowerment
Are you thinking about establishing a business, or you already have a business on the side but are not growing? Do you desire to get some valuable tips from experienced entrepreneurs who own successfully established and thriving businesses?  We are Deaf entrepreneurs with many years of combined business knowledge providing resources and tools to promote a stronger Black Deaf ecosystem through financial self-sufficient and wealth management. This workshop will be provided by successful business owners who are ready to provide extensive, no-holds-barred, and unique perspectives on how can unconscious acts impact the wellbeing of the business. This workshop will address the dirty secrets of why members of the Deaf community are not comfortable discussing their wealth and how can we shift our mindset to empower ourselves to create a Black Deaf ecosystem. With the vision of the Black Deaf ecosystem, we can collectively create employment opportunities for the Black Deaf community. To pursue the entrepreneurship spirit, we need to become aware of the importance of maintaining positive customer service relationships with the varying differences of our stakeholders. This workshop will discuss the contributing factors of why businesses are unsuccessful and fail and how it could have been avoided if we paid attention to the warning signs. The presenters will provide several examples of why it is advantageous to own a business. Also, they will discuss why many people fail to take advantage of generous tax breaks, or programs that are designed or entrepreneurs. 

Contribution of Black Deaf Peforming Arts
Presenter: Fred Beam
Category: History, Language & Culture
In many Deaf Studies or History Classes, there is not enough information about Black Deaf people in performing arts. Black Deaf Performing Artists are often overlooked and brushed under the rug. Participants will gather knowledge about history of performing arts, deaf performing arts and black deaf performing arts and some dramatic literatures from this workshop. It will encourage participate to explore performances through uses of theater conventions, ideas, and theatrical movements and use theater as an investigative tool in discovering American culture. The workshop will cover the content of history  performing arts, deaf performing arts, and performing arts of color though presentations and individual and group activities. Content activities will cover the following: 1) Performing Arts at the beginning, 2) Deaf Performing Arts, 3) Deaf Performing Arts of Color, and 4) Performing Artists of Color. Participants will gather knowledge about history of performing arts, deaf performing arts and black deaf performing arts and some dramatic literatures from this workshop. It will encourage participate to explore performances through uses of theater conventions, ideas, and theatrical movements and use theater as an investigative tool in discovering Black Deaf culture as well as  American culture.

Could the Aftermath of Slavery Directly or Indirectly influence One’s Search for Happiness
Presenter: Daisy Rivenbark
Category: History & Health
Considering the history of slavery that began with individuals being physically enslaved and eventually evolved into that of being enslaved mentally.  Mental enslavement is believed to be a direct result of systemic oppression to include economics, education, mental and physical health, lifestyle, and politics. How does one define happiness? Happiness is believed to be directly associated with privilege. Seemingly, individuals have forgotten what constitutes true happiness. This workshop will encourage each individual to conduct a self-evaluation. By doing so, individuals will be empowered to make changes to their own lives, as they deem necessary.

Deaf Ministry Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Where are we going?
Presenters: Jeffery Bowden & Dr. Carolyn McCaskill
Category: Ministry/Faith-based presentation
Deaf ministry is in need of examination. Current models of Deaf ministry continue to serve as a program of reasonable accommodation with very little productive program that serve the Deaf community.  Outreach and sharing the Gospel of Christ is also in need of examination.  The question of whether churches with so called Deaf ministry is providing a significant impact to the Deaf community requires answers and are churches challenged to be a force of change in the Deaf community? This workshop will provide an overview of Deaf ministry survey. Dynamics of Deaf ministry will discussed and programs will be highlighted that demonstrate a influence into the lives of Deaf people. Brainstorming focus group will develop ideas on the opportunities to develop forward leaning programs in the ministry with and of the Deaf.

Dealing with Law Enforcement: How to protect our young black men and women
Presenter: Kirsten Poston
Category: Social Justice & Intersectionality
This workshop includes preventive tips and strategies for individuals who have had encounters with law enforcement and how one can protect themselves from the everyday violence we observe within our society with the black community.

DI: Are That We different in Signing community?
Presenter: Niesha Washington-Shepard
Category: Social Justice & Intersectionality
This workshop presenter will introduce the evolutionary emergence of DI and the social factors that can influence the growth of DI. There will provide the different scenarios where a C/DI is needed, the DI's roles and responsibilities and the understanding of the deaf interpreting processes. In the second part of this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to do some hand-on practices with interpreting and to identify situations when a C/DI is needed.

Doulas in Black Deaf Community?
Presenter: Niesha Washington-Shepard
Category: Social Justice & Intersectionality
This workshop will introduce each level of the full Spectrum Doula and give some examples of each in order to understand the concept of Doula. In the USA, many deaf people have access to internet. Beyond the scope of a source and printed online media, discussion of Full Spectrum Doula work is absent from the TV show, news and discourse. For this reason, increasing awareness within the Black Deaf community of the role, barriers, and practical applications of Full Spectrum Doula work will serve to advance the provision of comprehensive maternal and child health care and offer opportunities for greater interdisciplinary understanding and advocacy.

Educational and Employment Data of Black Deaf People in the United States
Presenters: Carrie Lou Garberoglio & Laurene E. Simms
Category: Educational Success & Opportunities
The successes and struggles that deaf people of color experience can be overlooked. This presentation will review national data for black deaf people and what we know about employment and educational outcomes. How many black deaf people have college degrees? How many black deaf people have jobs? How much do they earn? This presentation reviews employment and educational data for black people in the United States between the ages of 25 and 65 from 2013-2017, through a secondary analysis of the American Community Survey (ACS). This is a large-scale federal dataset with a sample size of over 23,000 deaf people in the United States. Data will be shared about high school and college completion, employment rates, average income, types of employment, and change over time. For example, black deaf people are increasingly completing high school from 2008 to 2016, at faster rates than their hearing peers. But only 38.7% of black deaf people were employed in 2017, compared to 71.2% of black hearing people. The data shows us some areas of strength and some areas where more attention needs to be paid to systemic barriers that are present for black deaf people in the United States. This data can help guide policy decisions and implementation of services that are needed in order to increase success for black deaf people.

Ethnic & Cultural Diversity within Deaf Community
Presenter: Vyron Kinson
Category: Interpreter Professional & Development
This part covers ethnic and cultural diversity within the American Deaf community, specifically, Deaf people of color. Learners explore how biases and stereotypes form, do self-analysis, and consider how these factors may impact their work as Deaf interpreters. Learners also research a variety of organizations representing Deaf ethnic and cultural groups, further developing their individual resources. Learners develops a greater understanding of ethnic and cultural diversity within the American Deaf community. Through lectures, in-class activities, and external assignments, learners examine how biases and stereotypes develop, their impact on work with Deaf people of various ethnicities, and strategies for effective interaction with Deaf people of color.

Federal Communications Commission: Disability Rights 101:  What Can The FCC Do For You?
Presenter: April Jackson-Woodard
Category: Communication Access
The Federal Communications Commission’s Disability Rights Office helps to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. You may be familiar with a number of DRO’s programs and services, but have you ever wondered about how these are delivered to the consumer?  Additionally, what are your rights as a consumer of these programs and services?  What can you do if you encounter a problem when using one of these programs or services?  The FCC’s April Jackson-Woodard will provide an overview of the Disability Rights Office’s activities and provide an understanding of how best to engage the FCC so to best advocate for yourself toward an optimal, fair resolution of any issues under the FCC’s jurisdiction.

Fitness and Diet
Presenters: David Hamilton & Justin Grigsby
Category: Health Issues
The purpose of presentation is to help black deaf and hard of hearing the awareness about fitness and health. This is to ensure they have better understanding and can improve their quality of life. Explain different do’s and dont’s Related to fitness and health. Statistics will be provided on comparisons between black (African Americans) and other races in terms of health wise.

From Yesterday Until Today: Where are the Black Teachers in Deaf Education?
Presenters: Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton & Ashlee’ McHenry
Category: History, Language & Culture
To understand where we are going, we have to know where we have been. Historical knowledge gives us insight and power to imagine new and more liberated possibilities particularly as it relates to Black Deaf education. This historical interactive presentation will focus on the archival information collected from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) about Deaf education training programs for Black teachers between 1938-1952. This presentation will uncover the historical relationships and complicated impact of HBCUs on Black Deaf education and the future possibilities of HBCUs’ role in the recruitment and retention of Black teachers within our Deaf classrooms today. This interactive presentation will include a historical gallery walk, images, and group dialogue about how to use historical information to resist future oppression within Black Deaf education.

Legislative Advocacy 101
Presenter: Jay Isch
Category: Advocacy
This is essentially a crash course in how to be an effective advocate for your causes during legislative sessions. This presentation will include information on crittical steps in boosting attention for your causes, using helpful tools like technology in advocacy, using your legislation website, staying on top of it, making friends in the right places, deciphering the difference between advocacy and lobbying, as well as a reserved block of time for Q&A within the presentation.

Overcoming Educational Barriers
Presenter: Joy Sledge
Category: Educational Success & Opportunities
As an educator and author, Joy Sledge advocates for changes in education policies within special education. Black/POC Deaf/hard of hearing students are often denied proper education and teachers disregard their concerns. Joy will present tools on how to get around an oppressive system and how to get to the college/vocational level. Joy will also discuss from her personal experience overcoming the educational barriers and use it to empower others.

Passing the Torch: Conversations with Our Black Deaf Elders
Presenter: Dr. Glenn Anderson
Category: Leadership Development & Mentoring
This presentation is proposed as a panel session. Invited panelists will be those who have served and been involved with NBDA for many years. Passing the torch is a "metaphor" for preparing the next generation of NBDA leaders at the national, state, and local levels. Topics that will be considered for the panel presentation include: memories of the early days and origins of NBDA, ways NBDA served as a springboard for the emergence o numerous Black DEaf leaders, scholars, artists, and entrepreneurs, challenges the Black Deaf community is facing today, and visions for the future of the Black Deaf community.

Perceptions and Attitudes about Language in the Age of Social Media: ASL Signs for BLACK
Presenters: Carolyn McCaskill & Martreece Watson
Category: History, Language & Culture
Based on online discussions and online and in-person surveys, this presentation/workshop will explore perceptions and attitudes of ASL users toward two forms of the sign BLACK: 1)  with a 1- handshape across the forehead and 2)  with a B-handshape across the forehead. Online discussions are revealing the B-handshape variant to have a specific significance in terms of ethnicity. Online comments will be summarized and the results of an online survey and an in-person survey will be presented. The audience will be asked to provide their perceptions in a workshop format. This presentation/ workshop fits exactly into the thirty-year tradition in sociolinguistics, starting with Preston (1986, 1989), of exploring the language attitudes of everyday, ordinary users of language: what their perceptions and feelings are about lexical items, syntactic structures, and use related to age, gender, race, region, and socioeconomic status. Sociolinguists have also speculated about the role of language attitudes in actual changes in a language: can a community introduce or remove an item from the lexical repertory of a community? Language attitudes in the American deaf community have also been studied (Hill 2012). What is truly remarkable now is how social media have completely transformed how this kind of research can be done. In addition to in-person surveys, surveys can now be done online and, most strikingly, users of sign languages can post their comments online; other users can respond online. Signers can now see each other, often in real time. Social media has opened the discussion up to a much wider range of language users and the forms in question can be clearly seen. One intriguing question that will be explored is to what extent this new kind of interaction can influence the actual use of language, i.e. can lexical items be approved or disapproved through social media?     

Reactions Matter: How We Can Be on Social Media
Presenter: Rima Cornish
Category: Technology & Social Media
This workshop will focus on tips on how to react challenges on social media. No matter how knowledgeable you are and how much research you do, there will come a time when someone challenge you. Might be a friend on Facebook or a stranger on Twitter or your blog. How you handle a differing opinion will speak volumes about you and can either enhance (or undermine) your personal credibility.

Recapitulation of the 1st Black Deaf ASL Instructors Summit
Presenters: Rezenet Moges-Riedel, Ritchie R. Bryant & Felicia Williams
Category: Leadership Development & Mentoring
The possible outcomes of this workshop may eventually create a networking system and registry, which will list Black-Deaf and Hearing-Signing educators, and build a mentoring system to gain more support for our isolated brothers and sisters across the nation. Presentation will include: explore the question of how to create a space; review an array of ASL curricula for the language learning process for our students, despite their cultural, linguistic, or racial/ethnic backgrounds differing from the instructors; and through some activities and technological tools, review and evaluate different materials for varying ASL-levels and to see what reflects our linguistic minority group sufficiently. Lastly, this presentation will offer some selected responses from an open roundtable discussing about feeling as a marginalized educator and close with some possible suggestions to create a better environment and resources for our no-longer-isolating Black-Deaf educators.

Taking a Look at Our Black Deaf Experience Through Our History: Who Is Missing?
Presenter: Amy Parsons
Category: History/Culture, LGBTQ and Intersectionality
This session will allow participants to reflect on the present state of the Black Deaf identity and how institutional/systemic racism has contributed to adaptive/maladaptive behaviours within our community. Participants will acquire tools to decolonize the experience of the Black Deaf community by: discussing institutionalized racism, intergenerational trauma, and their impact on the present Black Deaf community experience; learning about adaptive and maladaptive behaviours in the Black Deaf community; and begin unpacking how these behaviours have contributed to biases toward those who are Black Deaf + LGBTQIA2S

The Keys to Success for our Black Deaf Students and Black Deaf Staff/Teachers in Deaf Education
Presenter: Malibu Barron
Category: Social Justice, Educational Success, Collaborative Efforts, Employment - Retaining POC Teachers
The world is changing fast, it has been nearly 60 years since Ruby Bridges became the one of six first Black student to attend an all White public school in early 1960. And, in 1978, the very last Deaf school to end segregation of Deaf White and Black students. We recognize the intersectional experience of our Black Deaf children that still lingers today’s school system, due to 13th Amendment, Jim Crow Era, School-to-Prison Pipeline system, and multilayered barriers that our current students and staff/teachers are experiencing, even in 2019.  In 2016, Maryland School for the Deaf recognize the need to be responsive to all individuals and create an inclusive, safe, and uplifting learning/working environment for individuals with of all intersectional identities. For a couple of years, Malibu has been working at MSD as a Coordinator of Equity + Inclusion to provide direct/indirect consultation work with specific students, families, and staff/teachers as well as promoting Restorative Justice approach in both campuses, and provided numerous of trainings across campuses. This workshop, Malibu will identify common narratives for our Black Deaf students/staff, sharing beneficial resources/tools to promote Transformative and Restorative Justice approaches in Deaf Education settings, and creative ways for the community to collaborate with schools to close gaps for our Black Deaf students and staff/teachers.

The Lived Experience of Black Deaf People in the Criminal Justice System: Call for Policy Change
Presenter: Opeoluwa Sotonwa
Category: Legal Rights & Issues
Join Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa for an interactive session that delves into institutional racism as is highly evident with the domination of whites within the structures and agencies that administer criminal justice such as the police, courts, interpreters and correctional systems. In this workshop, we will show evidence that black deaf people have been more vulnerable to arrests than whites. In addition, they become objects of discrimination even after conviction.  This case scenario is even worse for black deaf individuals who face an identity crisis of whether they are deaf or black first. We will also show findings that black deaf people are at very high risk for serious injustices when they find themselves in the criminal justice system. Although black deaf suspects possess the same constitutional rights as their white counterparts, the disparity in the make-up and composition that exists within the criminal justice system for black deaf individuals are significant and indisputable. In addition to discrimination due to color, deafness impedes effective communication at every step of the legal process, from the arrest to the series of interrogations, court hearings and conviction or acquittal. These injustices have resulted primarily from racial discrimination and a lack of understanding of black deaf people by the professionals working within the criminal justice system. The workshop will call for policy changes to help professionals within the justice system understand the unique communication and cultural needs of the black deaf people.

Unpacking Privilege:  A Stage for Discussion
Presenter: Laurene E. Simms
Category: Plenary Session
Across the country, recent incidents have highlighted the need to foster a greater consensus on the work to be done in a diverse society. This presentation will introduce a basic understanding of concepts related to unpacking privileges. The participants will examine their upbringing, beliefs, and biases that affect their ability to behave in both challenging and positive ways.

VRS Etiquette: You + Me = Partnership
Presenters: Valerie McMillan, Kenya McPheeters & Monique Sarpy
Category: Workshop option that aligns with theme.  Example: Effective Strategies for Building a Collaborative Community
This workshop is geared towards any VRS user (deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or hearing).  This session will discuss how the caller and interpreter can better work as a team, how to self-advocate, and how to properly communicate his/her need(s).There will be some hands on activities/simulations of scenarios, and provide a Q/A at the end.

What Happens To My Benefits When I Go To Work?
Presenter: Callie Frye
Category: Economic Empowerment
One of the most frequented asked questions by a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary who wants to work. Social Security Administration (SSA) provides employment support/work incentive programs that can assist you in your work efforts and allow you to keep some, or all, of your SSI and SSDI benefits and Medi-Cal/Medicare coverage while you transition to the workplace. These employment supports/work incentives are different for each program.

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