Education about Multiculturalism in the Deaf Community is Key to Communication

[Editor’s Note: While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how large the deaf population in the U.S. is, about 15 percent of adults, or 37.5 million, in the U.S. have reported difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. In honor of National Deaf Awareness Month this month, we wanted to find out what deaf communicators want others in the industry, including PR pros and journalists alike, to know. To do so, PRNEWS sat down in a virtual roundtable with Tyrone Giordano, Director of Communications, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center; Chris Johnson, Manager of Community Relations, Gallaudet University; Rosa Lee Timm, CMO, Communication Service for the Deaf, Division President, CSD Social Venture Fund; and Robert Weinstock, Director of Public, Media, and Community Relations, Gallaudet University.

 In a broad-reaching conversation, we discussed the impact the pandemic has had on the deaf community, the lessons learned about communicating during crises,  how so-called mainstream communicators can work to make accessibility part of their DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) conversations and what corporations looking to embrace DEI and accessibility should do to push forward inclusive campaigns. ]


PRNEWS: How do you educate journalists, as well as the larger ‘mainstream’ community, about the deaf community and how they need to, and should, be communicated to?

Robert Weinstock, Director of Public, Media and Community Relations, Gallaudet University

Robert Weinstock: It’s important not to focus solely on the aspect of deafness...Very often here at Gallaudet, reporters contact us because they heard a deaf person did something significant, and they focus on the fact that they are deaf as opposed to what they accomplished.


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