The Executive Director’s Pulse – Summer 2020

I recently entered Deaf Action Center for the first time since the shelter in place order was announced. As I checked the building, the feeling was surreal and the atmosphere was unbelievably still. DAC (Deaf Action Center) is a bustling center teeming with vibrant senior citizens downstairs in the café, interpreting interns spread around the upstairs public areas, clients and staff having appointments in the cubicles, and the flashing lights of videophones pulsing through the office. For just a moment, I allowed myself to feel the quiet and the sadness of our empty building. Silence.

I was also reeling from the shock that I had to recently furlough many employees. I voluntarily joined them, putting myself on furlough, as well, because I wanted them to know they are not alone in fighting systematic barriers to access services as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person. We applied for the Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program Loan, and we finally received it two months later, three days after our furlough began. We are back, but even with this loan we are still not able to open our doors yet.

As I pondered on the stillness and emptiness surrounding me, I felt a welling pride from within. Pride in my deaf community who stocked the shelves of our food pantry to support the senior citizens living in our apartment complex. Pride in seeing the many videophones and computers missing from desks since staff quickly prepared to make their home offices into DAC substations. Pride that our community rallied together to make sure press conferences were accessible. Pride that we wanted to try to take care of our own and make sure we were available for each other. Pride in knowing that one day soon our doors will reopen and DAC will once again be a physical haven for the Deaf, Deafblind, Deafdisabled, and Hard of Hearing community. One day.

I want to thank you for the many calls, texts, and emails. We are still standing on our three pillars of service, A.C.E. We are still here providing advocacy, communication, and empowerment to the over 4,000 clients and consumers we serve annually, just in a different way during this global pandemic.  I look forward to seeing your smiling faces in person eventually, but until then, we are always available virtually.

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