The 2013 National Black Deaf Advocates Conference was, by all accounts, a smashing success. The 26th Bienniel NBDA Conference, was held in the iconic cityof New Orleans, LA. With the New Orleans Black Deaf Advocates (NCBDA) Chapter serving as the hosts for this special occasion.
The conference theme “Aiming for Greater Excellence!” drew more than 300 attendees from all across the country, all in the interest of attending various workshops for their personal growth and professional development, and in the pursuit of NBDA mission “promoting the leadership development, economic and educational opportunities, social equality, and safeguarding the general health and welfare of Black deaf and hard of hearing people.” In addition to the numerous members of NBDA Local Chapters and guests, the conference was honored by visits from the White House Associate Director, Claudia Gordon (former NBDA Executive Officer), Gallaudet University Board Members, Pamela Lloyd-Ogoke and Duane Halliburton (both former NBDA Executive Officers), National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard Rosenblum and President Chris Wanger, Galludet President Dr. and Mrs. T. Alan Hurwitz , RIT-National Technology Institute of the Deaf’s Special Assistant to the President, Diversity and Inclusion, Alvin Boyd, and many others. Additionally, there was a special plenary given by Dr. Jane Fernandes, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina-Ashville.
Tim Albert, a native of New Orleans, was the Conference Chair and he spent two years working towards his vision with a strong conference committee team, and the support of NBDA Board and New Orleans Black Deaf Advocates (NOBDA). The Conference Committee members included: Conference Treasurer Jerry Webster, Workshop Coordinator Dr. Glenn Anderson, Exhibit Coordinator Dale Moore, Registration Coordinators Donald Tinsley, Stephanie Albert, & Buffy Jones, Interpreter Coordinator Anthony Aramburo, Banquet Coordinator Tanya Brown, and Volunteer Coordinator Ester McAllister.
A variety of quality vendors showcased their products, programs, and services. There were a plethora of events throughout the week such as the NBDA Board of Directors Meeting, Opening Receiption, Welcome Ceremony, NBDA premiere of the Lake Windfall movie, world-class boat ride on the Steamboat Natchez, NBDA Regional Meetings, the State of the Black Deaf America panel, and the NBDA General Membership Meeting/Election. The inspirational Miss Black Deaf America Pageant was organized and directed by Roxann Richards with SeAndra Smith-Reese. Congratulations to Chanae Laldee from Maryland for becoming the 2013-2015 Miss Black Deaf America!
High school and college students participated in the Youth Empowerment Summit (Y.E.S!) and Collegiate Black Deaf Student Leadership Institute (CBDSLI) leadership summits. The 2013 CBDSLI program was coordinated by Evon Black and Alaina Mitchell with 6 students from Gallaudet University, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and California State University, Northridge. Corey Burton and Barbara Smith directed the 2013 Y.E.S! leadership summit, with 18 youth participants from schools for the deaf and mainstream schools.
The Saturday evening banquet was charming and beautifully set. Keynote Speaker, Pamela Lloyd-Ogoke, Board Member at Gallaudet University, shared a vision of the future potential of NBDA. This was followed by an inspirational speech from Claudia Gordon, Esq. sharing her thoughts on how far NBDA has come and what today’s youth can do to aim for greater excellence.
At the banquet NBDA recognized the many individuals who have accomplished a lot in the Deaf Community and become icons in Black Deaf America. The following awards were given:
- Andrew Foster Humanitarian Award: Dr. Angela McCaskill
- Linwood Smith Humanitarian Award: Claudia Gordon, Esq.
- Iconic Bronze Hand Award: Kimberly Lucas
- NBDA Advocate of the Year: Martina Moore
- President’s Distinguished Service Award: Anthony Aramburo
- Organizational Excellence Award: National Alliance of Black Interpreters of Washington, D.C. (NAOBI-DC)
- NBDA Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Nathie Marbury
Additionally, at the banquet, the 2013-2015 NBDA Executive Board was announced, with the new organization’s leaders being:
- Patrick Robinson, President
- Opeoluwa Sotonwa, Vice President
- Betty Henderson, Treasurer
- Donald Tinsley, Sr., Secretary (Appointed)
NBDA is quick to point out that the success of the conference could not have been made possible without the support of the conference partners. And extends its gratitude to the following sponsors, supporting organizations, media and individuals:
- Conference Sponsors: Purple, Gallaudet University, Jerry and Jeanette Webster, RIT-NTID, Sprint Relay, and Tim and Stephanie Albert
- Individual Sponsorship: Cultivating Unity Pride and Empowerment of the Deaf, Hamilton Relay, Inc, Capricia Avery, Geraldine Gordon-Brown, Andrew & Giselle McAllister, Richard McCowin, Deborah James, Horace Jones, Benro Ogunyipe, Andrew Robertson, and Jeannette & Courtney Travis
- Communication Access Sponsors: Sorenson VRS
- Youth Sponsors: Alabama Institue for the Deaf and Blind, Sprint Relay, and Gallaudet Southwest Regional Center
- Media Relations: Seth Gerlis of iDeafNews, Mercedes Hunter – Media Liaison, and DJ Joey Butler.
NBDA is grateful to members and visitors who support the conference, and continue to make this an organizaiton to be proud of around the world. We look forward continuing to serve the Black Deaf Community in the coming years, and we will see you again in 2015 when the 27th NBDA Conference will be held in Louisville, Kentucky!