2023 Year in review

Deaf In Government (DIG) wishes everyone a wonderful and peaceful holidays and a prosperous 2024.

2023 DIG Holiday Card
Not Pictured: Todd Epps

DIG is pleased to share our 2023 Accomplishments:

On March 6 and 7, 2023, DIG partnered with the 38th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity hosted at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, to provide a workshop track for deaf and hard of hearing people. During the Pac Rim plenary session, DIG presented an award to Lance Pickett, Chief Relations Officer for Sorenson Communications. The NTID Alumni Association hosted an alumni networking event. Over 100 people attended DIG’s workshops and over 600 people attended the Pacific Rim Conference, with more information here: https://pacrim.coe.hawaii.edu/home-2023/.

On March 8 and 9, 2023, DIG hosted a DIG Regional Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii which drew more than 100 participants from the Hawai’i islands and provided 10 workshops including a special Town Hall meeting led by both DIG and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). The Comprehensive Service Center - Hawaii (CSC-Hawaii) and the Aloha State Association of the Deaf hosted a special Deaf Luau to close out the festivities. DIG expresses our gratitude to all the federal agencies and organizations for partnering to make this event successful, and especially to Sorenson Communications for sponsoring both events. Without Sorenson’s support this would not have been possible. Mahalo!

On June 14 - 16, 2023, DIG hosted the National Training Conference (NTC) at American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. The 2023 NTC’s theme was “Advancing through Accessibility” which builds upon President Biden’s Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce (DEIA) - https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/30/2021-14127/diversity-equity-inclusion-and-accessibility-in-the-federal-workforce - which lays out key steps that agencies can take to strengthen DEIA in their workforce policies, practices, and culture. The overarching goal is to build a bridge within the government using the “A” in DEIA which stands for Accessibility by collaborating with  agencies in order to support Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing employees throughout all levels of government. 43 presenters and panelists presented on a variety of topics designed to train, elevate, and provide resources to deaf and hard of hearing government employees.

DIG would like to thank the NTC sponsors for their support:
  • Platinum Level:
    • Sorenson Communications
  • Silver Level: 
    • ZP Better Together
  • Bronze Level:
    • Deaf Access Solutions (DAS)
    • Gallaudet University
    • Kramer Wealth Managers
    • Mid-Atlantic Interpreting Group (MAIG)
    • National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)
  • Friends Level:
    • Access Interpreting
    • CSD's ASL NOW
  • In-Kind Level:
    • DC Association of the Deaf (DCAD)
    • DC Mayor's Office for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing (MODDHH)
    • Virginia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (VRID)

DIG also appreciates the NTC exhibitors for providing their expertise in services and products:
  • Camp Mark Seven
  • CODA Brothers Interpreting
  • DC Mayor's Office for the Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing (MODDHH)
  • Deaf Access Solutions
  • Deafroot
  • Described and Captioned Media Program
  • EEOC
  • Gallaudet University
  • GoVoBo
  • Kramer Wealth Managers
  • MAIG
  • Nagish
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)
  • sComm
  • Sorenson Communications
  • The Draw & Leopard Boutique
  • The Signing Group
  • U.S. Department of State
  • ZP Better Together (ZVRS and Purple Communications)

DIG is also grateful to our communication access providers:
  • Eyeth Consultants
  • The Well-Versed Interpreter
  • Ennis Captioning Solutions
During the NTC, DIG hosted our General Meeting and Election. The elections committee is pleased to announce that the new DIG Board for the 2023 - 2025 term is:

President Brianne Burger,
Vice President Paige Thompson,
Member at Large Florence Rapozo,
Member at Large Cassie Mae Blomquist, and
Member at Large Linda Whitmore.

Secretary Shiran Zhavian and Business Manager Todd Epps were elected in the 2022 election. Appointments for positions include: Shiran Zhavian now serves as the Communications Manager, Stephanie Soto serves as the Secretary, and Robert Tackie serves as Member at Large. Congratulations to the DIG Board!

In observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), which is in October, DIG provided over 27 presentations and panels around the federal government educating agency officials on the importance of removing barriers for recruiting, retaining, and advancing deaf and hard of hearing people in the workplace. Presentations and discussions also included the President’s DEIA Executive Order and how agencies can implement action steps within the Accessibility area.

DIG continues to work together with federal agencies, companies, and other deaf and hearing nonprofit organizations on employment initiatives. DIG’s president serves as the Vice Chair of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advisory Network (DHHCAN), where DIG is involved in the policy workspace. We look forward to more policy changes to include the deaf and hard of hearing in 2024.

Did you know that DIG is celebrating 30 years as an organization? DIG hosted our 30th Anniversary Gala on December 2nd at the Penn Social in Washington, DC. We honored the founders of the original Deaf and Hard of Hearing In Government (DHHIG) and heard personal testimonies about the progress of deaf people throughout the government levels, to the White House, and as elected officials. Comedians Justin Loncar (@somedeafguy) and Brad Klein (@oncloudkl3in) brought many laughs, while twelve sponsors and party attendees were treated to numerous door prizes, took home power chargers provided by Deaf Access Solutions, shirts in sign language by the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball (MLB) team, and giveaways by Convo and SquareGlow. DIG deeply appreciates Jeevan Portraits and Sarah Goolishian for the pictures of the event, which are posted - https://jeevanportraits.pic-time.com/-30yearsofdig/gallery. The code is DIG30.

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Stay tuned for so much more in 2024!

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