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Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hosts Annual Legislative Awareness Day

Recognizes Advocates in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing today welcomed and recognized community leaders and advocates for their 2018 Annual Legislative Awareness Day in Annapolis. Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford attended and gave remarks at the event.

“Our administration is pleased to honor those who have worked hard to ensure that the 1.2 million Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders have better accessibility to vital resources and services,” said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. “This event is an opportunity to increase awareness and promote conversation about issues affecting the Deaf and hard of hearing community.”

The event included a presentation by Suzy Rosen Singleton, chief of the Disability Rights Office for the Federal Communications Commission, a panel discussion with members of the Maryland Advisory Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and an awards ceremony. The Council’s Chair, Dr. Lawrence Gray, selected Bradley Christlieb, Michael Catron, Lisa Montalvo-Diaz, and Katrina Aristy, as panelists to represent various communities across Maryland.

“This annual event connects the community with state government to help the state become more responsive to the needs of the community,” said Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director, Kelby Brick.

The honorees include:

•       Dr. Khadijat Rashid, Dean at Gallaudet University and former board member of Maryland School for the Deaf and the Maryland Association of the Deaf, receiving the 7th annual Governor’s “Kelby Brick Community Leadership” Award.

•       Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, the first sponsor and champion of the legislation that enacted the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, receiving the Outstanding Public Official Award.

•       Streetcar 82 Brewery, the first Deaf owned brewery east of the Mississippi River, receiving the Deaf Business Award.

•       Heidi Burghardt, former president of Howard County Association of the Deaf and leader in ensuring accessibility within county government, receiving the Civil Engagement Award.

•       Sheryl Cooper, founder and director of the Deaf Studies program at Towson University, and board member of the Maryland School for the Deaf receiving the Outstanding Ally Award.

•       Jamie Pope, tireless advocate for DeafBlind accessibility, receiving the Spirit of the Office Award.

•       Zainab Alkebsi, policy counsel for the National Association for the Deaf and former Deputy Director of the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, receiving the Director’s Award.

•       Deborah Nathanson, leader in employment and entrepreneurship policy initiatives, including the first Deaf Business Summit in the country that was hosted at the statewide level, receiving the Spirit of the Deaf Ecosystem Award.

At the event, Director Brick also announced the second annual De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art) statewide contest for students. First Lady Yumi Hogan will serve as the honorary chair of the contest. De’VIA is a genre of visual art that intentionally represents the Deaf experience and Deaf culture.