After hurricane Maria and the Mexico earthquakes, the Deaf community truly has come together in a collective effort to provide support. One example is the fundraiser that DC Latino Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association (LDHH) hosted on Friday October 6th at The Fridge Gallery, which was sold-out. The event was co-hosted by Leah Katz Hernandez and Lisa Montalvo with support from Portlight, American Association of People with Disabilities, and AI Interpreting.
The money raised will go to nonprofits working directly with the Deaf community in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Stephen Hlibok made an appearance representing International Deaf Emergency.
A special guest made an appearance. Angela Maria Nardolillo who herself was born and raised in Puerto Rico and now owns Off The Grid Missions. Angela shared how the needs of the Deaf community are different from the hearing community in Puerto Rico.
This is really specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing community. During a natural disaster, communication suffers due to lack of batteries, power outages, and power grids are shut down. So without that, many people cannot communicate after sundown. Hearing people can manage to get by, but the same cannot be said for Deaf individuals. They arrive too late and all the supplies are gone. If they were to collect items at night, they go to sleep and might not hear their stuff being stolen. So they wake up to find their things gone. Deaf people are always the last ones to find out where to get water and food, and struggle seeing at night for communication. These are huge reasons why we want to provide headlights because they can see while they sign. The headlight moves up and down and have different light settings. One button has a red light and it flickers if you press it twice. That can serve as a warning signal. There are about 400-500 headlights I will be bringing with me to Puerto Rico.
The event was sponsored by Gallaudet University, NAD, Convo, Will Ris and DC Taco Truck. Deaf performers showcased their talent at this event for entertainment.
We got to chat with Zoe Rodriguez who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She shared how the Deaf community could benefit from the money.
Things like water and food, I think are the most important. After those two, donations such as school supplies, books, computers- many computers are broken. How will students be able to learn? We need donations related to school supplies for the deaf community. I’m mostly concerned about the schools because deaf students are much more affected compared to hearing students. Deaf schools need our help.
Daniel Katz Hernandez, who has been heavily involved in the fundraiser, also has a few things to mention.
Our goal was to raise money for the deaf survivors of the disasters in Puerto Rico and Mexico. We just gave money to Off The Grid Missions and International Deaf Emergency, two leading Deaf organizations.
It’s my great pleasure to inform you all that in total we raised $18,000 in 10 days. This was possible through online donations, so thanks to all who donated. We commend you.
As for the event itself, we were able to sell 16 pieces of artwork. If you still want to donate to the deaf survivors in Puerto Rico and Mexico, you still can! We’ll be opening an online auction for the artwork that hasn’t been sold yet. Visit Instagram @dkh_curator. From there you can bid on different pieces by using the pictures there. The auction will start on Wednesday at midnight-- no, 8 pm, and it will close on Thursday at midnight. Whoever has the highest bid will be contacted directly for payment and shipping details.
So, are you excited to have some beautiful artwork in your home or business? It will leave you inspired, and knowing that you had a part in helping deaf survivors. Thank you for the support!
Wow. What an incredible example of what can happen when a community comes together! Will you be donating to these efforts?