CDBA-Get Your Pride On!

Hello everyone!

 

Last month was such a great time at the Cicno de Mayo celebration hosted by Roge Ramos and his family, including his parents and his grandmother.  What an awesome event with great foods, pinata, and decorations everywhere.   CDBA thanks Roge and his family for making it so memorable.

Next month we will be returning to the Disability Pride Parade in downtown Chicago.   As requested by members last year, we will be including a float.   Today, we are seeking volunteers to join the decoration committee to create an awesome float to represent the DeafBlind community in Chicago.   If you are interested, please send an email to info@chicagodeafblind.org.

We will begin decorating the float during the week before July 22nd.   Your creative ideas will be valuable.   We know there are many creative people in our organization and we want you to come out and show your amazing skills.

After the parade, we will s the area.  There will be an awesome exhibit area for many booths that you will want to visit.   We will eat lunch at a local restaurant in the immeidate area.   More details on the location whwere we will have our luncheon will follow soon.

SSPs are especially welcome and we request that SSP volunteers contact us soon to work with us both during the decoration week and at the Parade and luncheon.

See you all soon and stay cool in this very warm weather we are having now.

 

Cinco de Mayo on May 13th!

Oh boy, we have an exciting luncheon for Cinco de Mayo this year!   Roge and his family have worked together to create an awesome meal.    What is the menu?

  • Steak or Chicken Fajitas
  • Rice and beans
  • Pickled Carrots
  • Salad
  • tortillas
  • -Red and green chips

MMM  Yummy!   From the best Mexican restaurant in the Chicago   Top quality food.   And guess what?

 

There will be a pinaa for the kids too!

When:  May 13, 2015 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse – 1850 Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

RSVP:  If youc an RSVP and let us know, by May 10, send email to info@chicagodeafblind.org.

COST:  Free, but if you can help us keep our costs down, please feel free to donate $5 if you can.   If you cannot afford, that is fine.

See you all on Saturday, May 13th.  Bring empty bellies, lots of food and fun to enjoy!

CDBA Issues Testimonial on IL Senate Bill 0752

Yesterday, on March 14, 2017, the Illinois Senate Committee on Human Services passed Senate Bill 752 which proposes reforms to the Ilinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC).   Our organization was there to provide testimony on the legislative proposal.   It was also the first time that our organization formally asserted its new name “Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance” which is formally known as LeCOBDA.   Come join us for our meeting this Saturday, March 18, for more exciting news about our new organization direction!

Below, is the written testimonial given to the Senate Committee that you can read.

—————–

Submitted by:  Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance – March 14, 2017

To:  Members of Illinois Senate Committee on Human Services

Thank you, Honorable members of this Committee, for allowing me this opportunity.  My name is Bryen M Yunashko, and I am the president of the Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance.    We are the only official DeafBlind non-profit organization in the State of Illinois.

In 1995, the State conducted a survey and identified 7,000 residents with combined hearing and vision loss.   Two recent surveys elsewhere show significant numbers.   In North Carolina, for example, 26,000 residents were identified, and a national survey conducted by a university in New York identified 2.4 million people with those combined losses.  This only identifies those who willingly identify themselves as having combined loss.   Many more exist out there, who live with the societal shame that somehow, being DeafBlind is a terrible thing.   With our population continuing to live longer, it is easy to assume that in Illinois, that number is higher today than it was in 1995.

It is for this very reason, that we deeply appreciate that language is now included to recognize DeafBlind as a stakeholder of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.   We agree, it is important, and its time has come.    However, our organization expresses deep concerns about the fact that we have never been consulted in any way on the drafting of this legislation.   If we are a stakeholder, should we not be a part of this resolution’s outcome?

We are a growing community, coming into consciousness as an empowered and diverse group.  We are neither Deaf nor Blind.  We are DeafBlind.   We strive to speak for ourselves and not presume others to speak for us.   Our lives, our experiences, are ours and the challenges we must overcome, we must overcome them with our own determination of destiny and future.

Make no mistake about it, we are keenly aware of what lays before us.   We face obstacles, education, and discrimination on a daily basis, even by those who are seemingly our closest allies.

We are concerned about language in Senate Bill 0752.   If we are now granted formal stakeholder status, should not the name of the agency IDHHC reflect that?   And while the bill increases specificity of representation, we are concerned that this specificity will in fact a) tokenizes us and b) provides inadequate representation of the true DeafBlind life.

As I mentioned, we are a diverse community.   Some live in denial, and some embrace who they are.   Some live in rural areas, and others in urban areas.   Some have been DeafBlind all their lives and some became so later in life.   Nationwide, our unemployment rate stands at 84%, one of the largest of any disability.    Some have ready access to training services, others do not.   And in states like Illinois, we do not even offer some of the most basic services to life empowerment and independence.    In fact, I could not even submit a witness slip independently without assistance, even though Illinois state law requires accessible websites.  How many other DeafBlind voices are not being heard because a function as simple as submitting a witness slip is not accessible?

It is impossible for a single DeafBlind person to adequately represent the views of such a huge and growing population.

We recognize the intent of this legislation is well-meaning and we do not oppose that spirit.   What we ask for today is to revisit and ensure broader stakeholder input into the development of the language in this legislation in order to support a truer and more representational and diverse Commission.

Thank you,

Bryen M Yunashko

President – Chicagoland DeafBlind Alliance

president@chicagodeafblind.org

It’s the Year of the Rooster!

Hello everyone!

Did you know that January 27, 2017 was the start of the Chinese New Year?   Yes, that’s right. It is now officially The Year of the Rooster.   Want to learn more about what this means?  Come to our next LeCOBDA gathering on February 11, 2017 and meet the Rooster in person.  The Rooster will tell you all about what it means and what 2017 will be like.

 

To celebrate the Chnese New Year, we are hosting a Chinese Appetizers luncheon and we ask people to also bring potluck their favorite side dishes and desserts.   Bonus if you have a favorite Chinese side dish or dessert!

We will also have fun DeafBlind activities to keep you busy all afternoon.   Let’s make this the best Year of the Rooster!

Our host for this month’s event is Julie Somers.  Thank you Julie for planning such a fun event!

When:  Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse – 1850 Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL

RSVP:   Please let us know if you are coming and if you are bringing any dishes.   Send an email to info@chicagodeafblind.org

Volunteers:  We welcome volunteer SSPs and interpreters.   Let us know if you’d like to join our fun event.  Vounteers should plan to arrive by 10:30 a.m.

Mount Sinai Hospital Interpreting Services

Hello all,

We wanted to inform you about this important news about Mount Sinai Hospital Interpreting Services.  If you use Mount Sinai for any purposes, you need to know the following information that was sent to us.  Please read the letter below:

Hi folks,

Mount Sinai hospital has decided to close the Sinai Deaf Health program and use on-call interpreting services through CAIRS.  They’ve done this very quickly and people are going to be very confused if they are trying to get services at the hospital.  It’s about money.  State doesn’t have a budget and spoken language AND ASL interpreters all day are expensive.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES HAVE NOT BEEN TOUCHED.  THOSE ARE FINE.

Medical services will be very confusing for awhle.  CAIRS is  a good agency, but it will still be confusing for people tryng to getinterpreting services for awhile.  CAIRS doesn’t know the people who use Sinai or the clinics.  That means they don’t know if you prefer ASL  English, tactile ASL, etc.  Please tell other people about the change.

If you are looking for interpreter services at the hospital or any of the clinics, the new coordinator is Patricia Gibbs.  Her voice number is 773-257-5412 and her email is patricia.gibbs@sinai.org. (She is Hearing.)

Her supervisor is Gia Mac.  You can contact Gia at 773-257-6597 and her email is Gia.Mac@sinai.org.  She is also hearing.

 

If you have concerns about these changes, you can contact the CEO of Mount Sinai. her name is Karen Teitelbaum.  Her email address is karen.teitelbaum@sinai.org.

 

Thank you.

 

A note from LeCOBDA President, Bryen Yunashko.

Mount Sinai has been a very good program ensuring good access to services with interpreters.  The Coordinator for the Deaf Services Program had a very good understanding about how to work with DeafBlind clients.  It is sad that we have lost an important ally at Mount Sinai, and we are deeply concerned that continued medical access will be accessible for all DeafBlind people in the Chicago area.   If you are concerned, please send an email to the CEO so they know about your concerns.   While it is not Mount Sinai’s fault that the state has been unable to complete a budget, nevertheless, we are all affectd.   If you do not speak up, your concerns will not be heard by Mount Sinai or the State of Illinois.

Thank you,

 

January DeafBlind Events

Hello, we’d like to keep you updated on the events of January that you may be interested in.   See below for more information:

  • As a reminder, the Chicago Park District is hosting a 10-week Ceramics class for people with vision impairments, incDeafBlind.  This event will be held at Athletic Park betinning tomorrow, January 12, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.    The class only costs $13sidents and $26 for non-Chicago residents for the full 10 weeks.    Please contact timothy.owens@chicagoparks.com for more information.
  • The PACE Chicago ADA committee will be holding its quarterly meeting on Jauary 23rd at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) on January 23rd from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.   The committee is asking for all public to come and provide accessibility comments.  If you use Pace in the Chicago area, please make your concerns known!    To make accommodation requests and to get exact locationon, please email to ada.committee@pacebus.com
  • On January 21, there will be a nationwide march to recognize the rights of women and will include a Disabilites Caucus.   This group is getting a lttention because of the importance so close to the Presidential inauguration.  ago, the Women’s March is expected to have at least 10,000 people and as much as 100,000 people.  The march will be held Saturday Mo Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park in Chicago on January 21.    There will be similar marches all over the United States.   Shelley Engstrom-Kestel and Bryen Yunashko are coordinating SSPs and interpreters for anyone who wants to join this very important and histori event.   If you are interested in participating in the march, please send an email to Bryen via hello@bryen.com for more information
  • Do you use Paratransit services?   Are you happy with the services?   Do ou have concerns?  Should Paratransit be improved for DeafBlind people?   If you have yes to any of these questiosn, please contact Bryen Yunashko for an important research project as soon as possible.   Contact Bryen via hello@bryen.com.

Winter Ceramics Class

Here is a great way to keep busy during these cold winter months by doing some fun activities.   The Chicago Park District is holding  Ceramics classes every Thursday for 10 weeks beginning on January 12.   This class is focused for those who are visually-impaired.  Best of all, the class only cost $13 for the whole ten weeks!   WOW… what a great deal!

The $13 fee is for residents of Chicago city.  If you live outside of the city, then the fee is $26.  Still pretty cheap!

If you require SSPs or interpreters, it is your responsibility to contact Timothy Owens at the Park District.  He works for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program.  His email is timothy.owens@chicagoparkdistrict.com.  You can also contact him if you have other questions.    LeCOBDA is working with the Chicago Park District to expand more accessible programs for DeafBlind people.  Please do show your support for better programs by signing up for this fun class.

This class is held every Thursday from January 12 to March 16.  The address is:

Atheltic Field Park is at 3625 N. Central Park in Chicago, IL  60618  It is very close to the Blue line Addison station.

Hope to see you there!

Catharine A. Papish

Dear Community,

 

Many of you may remember Catharine A. Papish, who was the Helen Keller National Center Regional as Assistant to the Region 5 states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

We have recently been informed that Catharine was in a tragic automobile accident on Saturday, November 26 in Kentucky.   Services were held today, Friday December 2, in East Moline, IL and she was interred at St. Mary’s Mausoleum, also in East Moline, IL.

Catharine is survived by her husband, Vincent Papish, a daughter named Trinity, and a son named Dustin.   She also had several grandchildren and many neices and nephews.

Catharine was born in 1958 and was married in 1993.  She was 58 years old at the time of her passing.

We join in expressing our deepest condolences to the Papish family in this time of deep sorrow and sudden loss.  She is fondly remembered by many in the DeafBlind community over the years for her work in ensuring that members of the community receive access to services.   And we extend our condolences to the HKNC family, and particularly to Laura J. Thomas, who worked closely with Catharine for many years as Regional Representative, as well as to Judy Knisely who is the current Regional Representative for Region 5 and also has worked closely with Catharine.

 

2016 Holiday Party is Coming!

We had an amazing Thanksgiving party.   Nearly 80 people came to the party and we had so much awesome homemade foods.   That’s the most delicious kind of food!    And kids and lots of good chats and discussions.

Now, 2016 Holiday party is coming.  It will be on December 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  We will have pizza and fun activities.   For desserts, please bring your favorite Holiday recipe.  We want to taste your awesome cookies, cakes, etc.    And we will have a fun contest with the desserts.

It is so much fun when we all contribute together.   You are all making 2016 such a wonderful success.

And Santa knows this and… shh…  Santa will be there with gifts!  So, you better be good!

Please notify secretary@chicagodeafblind.org to let us know if you are coming.   As always, we also need volunteer SSP and interpreters. But we promise, this will be a light event.  Its more about fun and relaxation!

When: December 10, 2016 from 11:00 to 3:00

Where:  Chicago Lighthouse, 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

A Day of Healing

As you all know, America has elected a new President.  For man of us in the disability rights community and other communities of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual preferences, this is a traumatic experience.   Across the country, many are gathering to support and grieve together.

This Saturday, the focus of our Thanksgiving meal will be on the support to each other that we all need at this time of immense challenge.   The theme “Gobble for Unity” is still the same, but now is even more important.

We have many RSVPs so far and a delicious meal planned.  Please, if you have not yet,  send an email to secretary@chicagodeafblind.org to confirm that you are coming, if you are bringing any foods, and also if you need a ride from Metra station.

We also will need more SSP volunteers. We have many now but we anticipate needing more due to this news.   If anyone wishes to be an SSP and join us in our community support and process, please do contact secretary@chicagodeafblind.org.

 

THank you,

Bryen M Yunashko — President, LeCOBDA