Legislative Awareness Day 2015 Wrap-Up
It’s a wrap for our Sixth Annual Legislative Awareness Day (LAD)! Despite it being a rescheduled event due to inclement weather, over 70 people still showed up for the event! They participated actively with questions and comments during the program. Although Lise Hamlin from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) was unable to make the panel due to illness, the other two panelists. Debra Patkin, Esq. from the National Association of the Deaf’s Law Center and George Failla, Esq., Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, shared valuable information on impacting change in both state and federal government. Kelby Brick, the panel moderator, did an excellent job facilitating the timely, relevant discussion.
Following the panel discussion, the Awards Ceremony began with keynote remarks from Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. Based on votes from the community, recognition for significant contributions to the lives of Marylanders who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind were given to:
Jon S. Cardin, Esq., former member of the House of Delegates, for his active support for the Deaf Culture Digital Library legislation during the 2014 legislative session, and
Donni Turner, Esq. for her contributions through the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in increasing accessibility and opportunities for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind job-seekers.
In addition, two recipients with the top votes received the Kelby Brick Community Leadership Award:
Tina Montgomery, former Director of the Centralized Interpreting Referral Service, for her commitment to creating accessibility through interpreting services for over 30 years in the central Maryland region, and
Charm Smith for her advocacy and support of the Office as President of the Maryland Association of the Deaf.
The guests then met one-on-one with their legislators to talk about issues that are important to the community. Seeing the human side of these issues has an impact on legislators. We applaud the proactive citizens that took the time to attend and open up a dialogue. That is what LAD is all about.