Outcome of Virtual Town Hall Session (7/15/2020) on Race Relations

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, HCAD proudly hosted its first virtual town hall session on Race Relations titled, “Deciphering the Complex Web of Racism in the USA”.

Our HCAD member, Kirsten Poston, served as the outstanding moderator along with four phenomenal panelists, Antines “NuNu” Davis, Aubrey Moorman (former HC citizen and a graduate of Reservoir High School), La Toya Plummer and Darrin Smith.

Throughout the program, the audience was asked to participate polling using their mobile phones for data collection and display to give the panelists an idea of who was watching the session. 

  • 64% of the audience were white
  • 27% Black participants
  • 32% from Howard County
  • 11% from Prince Georges
  • 8% from Anne Arundel, Frederick and Baltimore each
  • 24% from outside of Maryland 

Ms. Poston asked each panelist four questions and the panelists were open and honest with their raw experiences on racism: 

  1. What is the appropriate sign for ‘Black Lives Matter’?
  2. Can you share your personal experiences with the audience relating to racism?
  3. What are some solutions you think will be beneficial to the community in dismantling racism?
  4. What are some tips you can give non-proc about unpacking and becoming a better ally?

As white and Deaf, we experience being in a social minority but imagine what it is like for Black, Deaf, woman and/or the LBGTQ? They have the double, triple or quadruple the oppression. 

The panelists all provided the audience with some sound advice to all white sisters and brothers:

  1. Really listen to your black sisters and brothers. Do not jump in to explain, defend, overreact or reinterpret. Look at the racial bias in yourself. Listen, listen, listen with an open mind and open heart, but listen. Open your eyes. 
  2. Ask questions. Explore the other person’s thoughts and feelings more deeply. 
  3. Pay attention to why people all over the world are also protesting in support of black people in America. Speak up to other white people. Stay the course and continue to figure out other ways to dismantle systemic racism. Be strategic and sincere about getting to genuinely know people who don’t look like you. Your life will be richer for it.
  4. Don’t minimize it or act like it’s an issue. Black deaf people are tired of it. Do not compare them with yourself as a white deaf person.

The panelists were asked what we can do to dismantle racism, below are their answers:

  • Have dialogue and lots of it. Talk more about it, really listen, understand and give your Black friends, colleagues and acquaintances a chance to have the discussion and tell us what they’re feeling, and identify what the problem is, because without the dialogue, nothing will be able to move forward. There will be no progress. We won’t be able to take the right steps to dismantle racism. For white folks, allow them to talk about race and racism and not merely the race of others, but their personal radicalized experience. All leadership, and white leadership, in particular, needs to tolerate their discomfort and push forward. 
  • Re-evaluate internal policies, do a thorough evaluation and force them to look at these policies and understand how it affects individuals. 
  • As a firm, educational institution committed to racial equality, we must also consider where racial disparity exists in our own organizations and not tolerate our shortcomings. Get rid of racist people who already have that mindset that they are racist. Ensure that everyone gets the fair chance/opportunity as other white peers. 
  • And lastly, but not least, have respect. It’s not your responsibility to judge. Acceptance is the key. You may never understand, but it is imperative that you respect and accept. Be accountable. Deal with the discomfort. 
  • Be an informed voter. We are the voters to determine who should make these policies, making the laws we need to be informed of who we’re voting in the office. 
  • Be knowledgeable about the issues and positions of candidates when voting. It also means you are able to make decisions without influence from outside factors intended to persuade those who may not fully understand a candidate’s platform or ideas. 
  • Do your civic duty and vote in November!
  • White people can not just dismantle racism without black people’s input and engagement. It’s the same idea as you don’t want hearing people to make decisions for you as a deaf person, so make sure that you include Black people when you make decisions pertaining to Black people. You must have the mindset that you can not do it without Black people. You can’t do it without the right people. 
  • White parents talk about birds and the bees to their children, but in African-American households, “the Talk” is far more serious. It’s about getting young Black men and women home safely. Black parents have to discuss the white America and how to be safe.
  • We are all interconnected as Deaf people and because we both have the same color in our hearts. When we suffer injustice, it diminishes all of us.

According to data collection, 89% support that HCAD help dismantling racism by:

  • Partner with Baltimore Black Deaf Advocates on webinar series.
  • After COVID19 is resolved, have a “Meet & Greet Event” with all Deaf organizations of different races.
  • Have an open-mind and open-heart discussion

Books recommended by panelists:

Categories: Announcement

Equity and Inclusion Assessment Project

The Board of Trustees of the Maryland School for the Deaf is committed to identifying and rectifying systemic racism at the Maryland School for the Deaf.  In service of this effort, the Board of Trustees of Maryland School for the Deaf invites and welcomes proposals for its Equity and Inclusion Assessment project.  Click here for the RFP. Please carefully read and become familiar with all parts of the proposal requirements.

All proposals submitted for consideration must be received by the time as specified under the “submission deadline” on August 5th.   

You may send your response and/or any questions related to this solicitation to:

Maryland School for the Deaf Board of Trustees, John Olumoya/Consultant Search Committee MSDBOTConsultant2020@gmail.com

Virtual Town Hall Session on Race Relations 

Deciphering the Complex Web of Racism in the USA

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 from 7 PM to 9 PM

Register in advance for this Zoom meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

black lives matter

Text Info:

HCAD LOGO: Bridge with Tree on the top in a circle with the words Howard County Association of the Deaf with red background and white text)

Top center of page: Howard County Association of the Deaf Virtual Town Hall Session on Race

Title of Webinar: Deciphering the Complex Web of Racism in the USA

 (blue box with white font) Wednesday, July 15. 7 PM- 9 PM

 Register at https://www.hcadeaf.org to Join us on Zoom

*Everyone is welcome*

(in red font top right column of page in all caps)

MODERATOR: Kirsten Poston

PANELISTS: Antines “NuNu” Davis, Aubrey Moorman, Latoya Plummer, and Darrin Smith

(Image of a black fist rising in the air)

(Image of red white and blue curved lines with a partial view of the American flag showing blue stars and red and white stripes)


Categories: Announcement

Letter to Governor Hogan

Your Support is needed in calling MD Governor Hogan’s office by phone (via VRS) at 410-974-3901 or 800-811-8336 and let him know that you are AGAINST this legislation. In addition, we recommend sending an online submission at https://governor.maryland.gov/contact-the-governor/ and select “legislation” or send an email to him at governor.mail@maryland.gov .

Sample Letter opposing TAM HB-1003 and SB-0851:

(Your name and address here)


Subject:  House Bill #HB1003 and Senate Bill SB0851

Dear Governor Hogan,

I am sending this letter in opposition to the House Bill #HB1003 and Senate Bill #SB0851.  These two bills propose the Telecommunication Access of Maryland (TAM) program to be transferred from the Maryland Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to the MD Department of Disabilities (MDoD).

I have been a resident of Maryland since (insert the year you moved to Maryland) and have been deaf since birth. I’m unable to hear on the phone and I rely on some form of telecommunications relay service (TRS).

I recommend having the TAM program transferred to the MD Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GODHH) for the following reasons:

  • ODHH is the sole state office that provides expertise related to deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Maryland.
  • ODHH was established in October 2001 through legislation (Chapter 537 of the Acts of 2001 General Assembly).
  • According to MD State Govt Code 9-2403, the responsibilities of the Office shall include:
  • providing, advocating, and coordinating the adoption of public policies, regulations, and programs that will benefit deaf and hard of hearing individuals;
  • improving access to communication and to existing services and programs for deaf and hard of hearing individuals;
  • providing direct services to deaf and hard of hearing individuals as appropriate;

TAM program would fit perfectly under “direct services” and this is our opportunity now to move all D/HH related services/programs under the purview of ODHH and consolidate all the resources in one place.

I’m opposed to MDOD handling TAM due to their lack of knowledge, understanding and empathy of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) community in Maryland. In addition, MDOD has no clear history or track record of advocating on behalf of D/HH Marylanders.

Please amend these two bills HB1003 and SB0851 replacing MDOD with GODHH or conduct a summer study with the understanding that ODHH lead this study and that the committee consist of at least 51% D/HH members.

Thank you for listening to my concerns.

Categories: Announcement

Founders Reminisce

Founders Reminisce about HCAD – how HCAD was established.


6/1999 – 3/2002
President: Ron Fenicle
Vice President: Fred Hartman
Treasurer: Charles Grauze
Recording Secretary: Barbara Blakeman (Rich Cohen-started 9/2001)
Correspondence Secretary: Amy Markel
Legislative Director: David Tossman (Changed title to Political Action Network Liaison 3/2000)
Social Affair Director: Susie Kornkven (Kathryn Harrington-temporarily started 10/2000.  Sue Sloboda – started 2/2001)
Auditor: Bill Sloboda
Member at Large: Kathryn Harrington & Sue Sloboda
Parliamentarian: Greg Hlibok
Webmaster: Jay Scotton (started 9/2001)

Categories: Announcement