by Lois Diamond
My favorite was Frederick Schreiber, former President of the NAD. He was a simple man with a simple ego and his humble leadership resulted in many Deaf organizations being established as well as Deaf taking on leadership from his example.
Today we have many leaders with big egos in search for attention and fame. We need more people like Fred who got the job done and just moved on to the next one! Praise and recognition meant nothing to him. Getting better services, helping hearing understand and accept Deafness and getting the Deaf to become active leaders themselves were his biggest accomplishments.
I also admire Marlee Matlin who opened so much theatrical access and captioning in TV and movies for the deaf. Marlee Matlin not only broke the barriers for the Deaf into TV, she also advocated for more captioning on TV before the FCC passed the law that required captioning. Then this woman surprised the world when she went on the TV program “Dancing with the Stars”. People who hear would say, “Is she really Deaf? Deaf people cannot do that!” She broke barriers to prove that the Deaf can do anything except hear, once given the opportunity! Unfortunately, many of us hardly ever get the opportunity to be seen as equals.
When Marlee appeared on TV interviews, her appearance and reply was very smooth and professional. Fortunately she had a very skilled ASL interpreter who could skillfully make her comfortable, confident and professional.
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