Mark your calendars for the SayWhatClub convention this year from May 15-18 in Williamsburg, VA. We are excited to announce this year’s banquet keynote speaker is Cheryl Heppner. She is a dynamic speaker and advocate in our world who works to improve captioning on TV, the internet and for equal access during emergencies. Cheryl currently serves as the executive director for the Northern Virginia Resource Center (NVRC) for the Deaf and had of Hearing. She’s involved with Coalition of Organizers for Accessible Technology (COAT) and is a member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN). In her presentation, she wants to share some of the things she experienced as an advocate, including the humorous and bizarre. She says, “Hey, I’m the only person I know who had the President of the United States complete my sentence!” Come to the convention to hear the rest of the story.
Cheryl became hard of hearing around age 6 from spinal meningitis and then in her 20’s, a couple of strokes took what remaining hearing she had left. She felt fortunate to have the local deaf community take her under their wing and she learned sign language. She also credits Self Help for the Hard of Hearing now call the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) for helping her through those years.
She wrote a book,“Seeds of Disquiet” which was published in 1992. In the autobiography she describes her world of silence sharing her anger, her sense of humor and her accomplishments with hearing loss. An Amazon review of the book by Ina Wise says: “Job discrimination and acquaintance with other handicapped people eventually led Heppner to activism. Readers will find it easy to put themselves in her place and come away with her new vision. Her accounts of her personal and working lives are equally informative.” Publishers Weekly said the book “bridges the gap between the silent and the hearing worlds.”
Googling her name, I ran across a report she wrote called, “Accessibility Tools and Gaps: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumers.” In the report she outlines the specific ways in which we are left out of the loop during emergencies with inconsistent captioning on television, no captioning with the radio, via the telephone, wireless text, alarms, public address systems and interpreters and other service providers. Click here for the full report.
We are very pleased to have Cheryl as our guest speaker along with her hearing dog, Galaxy. (Galaxy has been her companion for ten and a half years.) Sign up for the convention, enjoy a wonderful dinner and pick up tips on advocating for our rights from Cheryl.
To learn more about the SWC convention, here is the website: htt://www.saywhatclub.com/events/wmburgcon/WilliamsburgCon.html