Chenae Laldee is the newly crowned Miss Black Deaf America. Chenae was born in Washington D.C., in 1991, into a hearing family and has one older sister. Chenae’s education began, at age 13 months, in an auditory-oral program where both communication and education was a constant struggle. A year later, after witnessing a lack of significant progress and her daily frustrations, Chenae was enrolled in a Parent-Infant Program at a local deaf school. It was readily apparent that a signed environment was the most appropriate placement for Chenae and shortly thereafter her family moved to Olney, Maryland so that she could attend Maryland School for the Deaf-Frederick (MSD-FCC) as a day student returning home daily to maintain close family ties. At MSD-FCC, Chenae experienced an environment deeply rooted in deaf education and deaf culture. Despite the educational and social challenges, Chenae flourished at MSD-FCC and was inducted into the National Honor Society. She excelled in track, cheerleading and her role as a peer-mediator.
Chenae received some valued support from various black deaf individuals who continue to maintain a strong presence in her life. Proud of her black deaf identity and her heritage, she has served as social and cultural director for RIT/NTID Ebony Club and also for the RIT/NTID Caribbean Deaf Club. Chenae continues to lead a very active lifestyle and participates in a variety of sports and organizations to include the National Society of Leadership and Success and her local neighborhood community group. Chenae is currently a full- time online student seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Change with concentrations in Human Resources and Political Science and expects to complete all course work by December 2013.
Chenae is very adventurous and tremendously enjoys travelling around the country and internationally to places such as Spain, Morocco, Mexico and more to explore different cultures and perspectives and to gain better understanding of the world relations. Chenae believes that we are more alike than we are different and strongly supports diversity. She has experienced discrimination from hearing people and from the larger deaf community and is keenly aware of the status of the black deaf community including the progress made and the struggles that this sector still face. The Black Deaf community continues to face social discrimination, high unemployment and underemployment, educational disadvantages, and under-representation in political leadership. For Chenae, diversity means embracing all agendas that support the advancement of the Black Deaf community on a national and international level.
Improving the socioeconomic conditions of the Black Deaf community is vital to the community’s continued success. Chenae hopes that her educational background in Organizational Leadership and Change with concentrations in Human Resources and Political Science, her real life experience and future career will allow her to help the Black Deaf community succeed and thrive in a global economy. She is strongly committed to working closely with the leaders and other members of the Black Deaf community to effect change and also with the youth to help inspire them to achieve their goals. “A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” - Colin Powell.
Chenae has demonstrated her ability to grow and further develop leadership skills with the guidance of her mentors, friends and family. Her kind spirit, love for people, faith in herself and her abilities, dedication and determination will allow her to focus and achieve her goals while representing the Black Deaf community. Chenae looks forward to her new role as Miss Black Deaf America and the opportunity to serve the Black Deaf community. She hopes that holding the title will aid in her quest for social equality and economic success for all members of the Black Deaf community.
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” - Norman Vincent Peale.