Gallaudet plays role in first needs assessment for D.C.'s deaf, hard of hearing GLBTQ community
Pictured at a March 1 celebration in "Ole Jim" for the Community Needs Assessment are (from left): two representatives from Brother Help Thyself, Inc.; Sherrette Estes from Access Interpreting, who supported the initiative by providing pro bono interpreting services; Edgar (Bernie) Palmer, executive director of the Office of Diversity and Equity for Students; Dr. Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer; and Janice Johnson, program coordinator of the Office of Diversity. (Photo by Megan Clancy)
Representatives of sponsoring groups for the first Community Needs Assessment (CNA) for the deaf and hard of hearing/deaf-blind GLBTQ community for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area gathered in "Ole Jim" March 1 to celebrate this milestone achievement.
Alex Nelson, a graduate student in social work and program coordinator of Gallaudet's GLBTQA Resource Center, presented the findings of the study. Nelson served as primary investigator for the CNA, which will focus action towards community improvement within and for the D/HH/DB GLBTQ community.
Work on the CNA was initiated in 2011 by the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community and Brother Help Thyself, Inc., a community organization that provides financial and other support to non-profit organizations serving the local GLBTQ community, and which gave Nelson grant funding to complete the needs assessment. The project was supported by a working group from the D/HH/DB GLBTQ and allied community, including many students and alumni from Gallaudet, who held numerous meetings and engaged and empowered stakeholders, organizations, and the community to make the study come to fruition. Throughout the project, the work of these individuals was guided by finding answers to the question, "What are the strengths and needs of the D/HH/DB GLBTQ community of the D.C. Metro area?"
The goal in sharing the data is to promote community involvement and increase networking for deaf and non-deaf GLBTQ community members, as well as to create a platform for policy change and development in regards to access for the D/HH/DB GLBTQ community in the D.C. area.
"The D/HH/DB CNA for the Washington D.C. metro area was a true collaboration between Gallaudet, community organizations, funders, and D/HH/DB GLBTQ community members," said Nelson. "Collaborative efforts like this are essential to make communities stronger while advocating for equality."
--By Megan Clancy