Elevation Conference Keynote Speakers
Elevation Conference Presenters
Islamic Interpreting 101
Leah is a Northern Virginian native. She started learning sign language at a young age through friends and school. Took ASL as a foreign language in high school and continued at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been professionally interpreting in the DC metropolitan area for 10 years. Leah has been involved with the Deaf Muslim community since 2008 before her conversion to Islam in 2010.Ever since that time she has been interpreting for Deaf Muslims from all over the world.
Dr. Raymont Anderson
Raymont Anderson has frequently been referred to as a Renaissance man. One look at his resume and the reason becomes clear. As a lifelong learner with a passion for self development, personal transformation, transmutation, and self awakening, he lives his bliss as a teacher, mentor, speaker, minister, and more. While his “formal” education provided an eclectic mix of skills in such things as illustration and graphic design, American Sign Language and interpreting, theology, and pedagogy his non-formal education as a mystic, metaphysician, and magus has been equally enriching, diverse and eclectic.
He became a professional interpreter in 1995 and a certified teacher of ASL in 1996. He is both an actor and ASL performing artist. He is a Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Life Coach, a father of 5, grandfather of 5, and an interesting bit of information, he is actually a “Jedi” master. In addition to this, he is an author of two published books: Visual Music: The Art of Interpreting Songs in American Sign Language and Moving Mountains: The Journey of Transformation and he is currently working on books 3, 4, and 5.
He is also an ordained Christian, Interfaith and non-denominational New Thought minister, a licensed Religious Science practitioner and soon to be recognized as an affiliate minister with Centers for Spiritual Living where he is serving the spiritual community as a member, a frequent guest minister, practitioner, and as chair of the Core Council of CSL-DC.
He is always writing, creating, teaching, and mentoring, while also working on his own path of authenticity and empowered living and this bio is but a tiny glimpse into who he is and what he does.
Deaf Ministry: Do You know What is Involved?
Fred Michael Beam is an internationally known performing artist. He is an actor, dancer, poet, and comedian, who has different artistic outlets in many forms. He has been a visual artist since his high school years where he won several local arts awards for his outstanding work. Fred is known as the first Deaf African-American to perform in a leading role in hearing theater — the Equity Theater in Chicago. Fred is the former president of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) and District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates (DCABDA). He is the founder of Invisible Hands Inc., which is made up of a number of different companies including: The Wild Zappers, an all male deaf dance company which has toured nationally and internationally; National Deaf Dance Theater, a mainstream dance company for both deaf and hearing communities; and I Didn’t Hear That Color, a deaf African American touring theater troupe. He has been performing at venues around the world including Japan, Kentucky DeaFestival, and NBDA Conferences and events. Fred was featured in the Essence Magazine’s Real Man of the Month, and has won numerous awards for his theater performance. He is also the coordinator of the annual DC Black Deaf Expo. Currently, he is a Math teacher at Model Secondary School for the Deaf.
Preacher and the Interpreting Team
Min. Jeffery Bowden
Minister Jeffery Bowden began his work with the Deaf at Gallaudet University in 1976. At the same time developed his interest in Deaf ministry and interpreting at Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington DC. Under the guidance of a host of interpreters and the members of the Silent Mission Deaf ministry Min. Bowden learned about the uniqueness of sign language interpreting and the Deaf community. In 1995, Min. Bowden earned his certification in Interpretation and Transliteration from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
Min. Bowden is a playwright. Min. Bowden wrote and produced two productions featuring exceptional talents in the Deaf community. The first production was Z: A Christmas Story, a holiday production featuring the signing singing and dancing of talented Deaf performers. In addition, Min. Bowden hired Deaf directors, choreographers and support staff. The second production was Silent Scream. The production was featured during the DC Black Theater Festival in 2015. Once again the public was treated to the amazing talent found in the Deaf community.
Notable accomplishments include being instrumental in establishing a internship for Deaf person at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila, Philippines. Through Min. Bowden’s networking abilities the administrative staff was introduced to the advantages of hiring and training Deaf person from the College of St. Benilde located on the campus of LaSalle University.
Minister Jeff Bowden believes in Equality, Empowerment, and Education for, of and with the Deaf. Currently, Min. Bowden leads United Deaf Ministries, Inc. (501c3), a global ministry that focuses on empowerment of Deaf ministries, employment opportunities and showcases talents of the Deaf and interpreting community.
Mitzvot, Shabbat, L'chaim!: How do I interpret that?
Sarah Blattberg, MA, CI, CT, SC:L, has been involved with the Deaf community since 1992 when she came down to DC from NY for a “semester abroad” at Gallaudet. She’s been interpreting since 1994 and has worked in a variety of settings and locales domestically and internationally. She’s had the good fortune to be selected for the interpreting teams of various interpreting conferences and thinks interpreting for interpreters about interpreting is about as fun as this job gets!
Sarah Blattberg, a nationally certified ASL-English interpreter, has been interpreting professionally since 1994. She interprets in various settings: legal, theater, government, professional conferences, Jewish, and university. In addition to the Certificate of Interpretation (CI) and Certificate of Transliteration (CT), Sarah holds the Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L).
The Dance of Self Discovery!
Kevin Dyels is a professional sign language interpreter and a member of the Board of Directors of several organizations including PCRID. He holds an executive position at a performing arts interpreting company called First Chair Interpreted Productions and commits to mentoring new interpreters and college students.
Originally from northern California, Kevin presents workshops in theater, affect, team building, and self-confidence locally, nationally and in Hong Kong. He has traveled to India, Romania, and South Africa with Quest Visual Theater, a performance group that presents workshops and performances to deaf and hearing audiences around the world. Kevin has a degree in theater and served as Production Manager for Deaf Way II; overseeing over 50 performances featuring the world’s best talented deaf performing arts groups.
When not interpreting, Kevin coordinates interpreters for various conferences and festivals, and works as a professional sound designer and disc jockey. In his spare time he enjoys international travel.
Hands Up! Ready! Sign!
Dr. Dominique Evans
Ms. Dominique Evans, a Bible scholar, licensed clinical therapist, Addiction Specialist & Educator offers: Therapeutic Clinical services, Biblical Studies, Deaf Education, to include American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Culture Diversity & Sensitivities Training, Religious Interpreting, & Song Performance, etc., locally & nationally serving all ages in pre-school & collegiate communities, as well as senior adults.
She effortlessly bridges the gap between Deaf and hearing persons, as she champions the cause of introducing all persons to a loving, forgiving, salvific relationship with God. One of her focuses is to stress the efficacy of American Sign Language, emphasize then importance of ongoing religious interpreting education & training, and/or for all to adopt the ideal of living a freer life of passion, purpose, and service.
She has served, for more than ten years, as the Deaf Ministry President, at the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church now located in Largo, Maryland, where the Reverend Dr. H. Beecher Hicks Jr, is the pastor emeritus and the Reverend Dr. Maurice Watson now serves as Senior Servant/Pastor.
Professor Evans is President & Founder of Create the Vision Source, LLC- a company that provides three extensive components: 1) Clinical Wellness & Empowerment Training, 2) Deaf Education, Deaf Ministry Development Training & Outreach, which includes American Sign Language instruction for all levels, Religious Interpreting, & Biblical Studies, and 3) Event Management & Design services.
Her aim is to creatively educate, equip, encourage, & empower “all ” persons to live their most amazing lives -having accessibility to language to freely communicate their deepest desires and live out their calling….on purpose.
Interpreting in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Margie English, a Certified Deaf Interpreter, churches at Deaf Evangelistic Adventist Fellowship church in Silver Spring, Maryland. She volunteers for Deaf Young Adults for Christ (DYAC) and the Three Angels Deaf Ministries, and is interested in deaf ministries within our church.
Margie provides sign language interpreting and translations through her company, EnglishWit Solutions. Over the years she has developed training curriculums, filmed translations from English text to ASL, and interpreted for deaf consumers in various settings. She currently serves on the Deaf Advisory Council for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Margie graduated from Gallaudet University in 1998 with a BA in English, and from University of Phoenix in 2006 with a MBA in Marketing.
God and the Americans with Disabilities Act!
Caroline Jackson, Esq.
Caroline Jackson is a Skadden Fellow. For the fellowship, she will spend two years as a staff attorney at the NAD, focusing on litigation and policy regarding special education services for deaf and hard of hearing students. Prior to becoming an attorney, Caroline worked as an interpreter in New York City where she also taught reading and writing in the Program for Deaf Adults at LaGuardia Community College. Caroline holds a B.A. in linguistics from Harvard University, an M.A. in education policy from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and the National Interpreter Certification (NIC). Following law school, Caroline clerked for the Hon. R. Guy Cole, Jr. of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Caroline enjoys music and theater, especially opera, big-band jazz, and musicals.
Catholic Interpreting with Passion and Purpose
Sue Gudenkauf is the Coordinator of Deaf Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a community-based professional sign language interpreter. She is nationally certified through RID holding CT, CI and SC:L as well as a credential as a qualified mental health interpreter. She has worked in a variety of settings including post-secondary, K-12 education, business, government, medical, mental health, legal, video relay and religious interpreting. Her passion lies mostly within Catholic Christian settings and has worked with the National Catholic Office of the Deaf and the International Catholic Deaf Association. Sue completed her M.A. in Theology and a Certificate in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute from Denver, CO in December 2013.
Deaf Diaspora - The 3 WAVES in the Deaf Ministry in the 20th Century
Dr. Gabriel Love
Dr. Gabriel Love is an accomplished professor with 20+ years of varied education experience across the United States. In Washington State, he was Associate Professor of American Sign Language (ASL) at Shoreline Community College and a high school American Sign Language (ASL) instructor. Dr. Love then moved to Indiana, where he was the Deaf Ministry Professor at Crossroads Bible College, Adjunct Professor for ASL/Deaf Culture at Purdue University/Indianapolis University and an ASL Teacher at Franklin Community High School. He earned his Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instructional Design in 2012, as well as a Master of Divinity in Education and Theology in 1989.
Dr. Love’s accomplishments include founding the Sierra Leone American Association for the Deaf, a humanitarian and global education organization with a mission to promote advancement in economic, educational and vocational realms, as well as promoting basic human rights within the Sierra Leone, West Africa, deaf population; being a member of the World Language Standard Review Board (Indiana), where he worked with the Indiana Department of Education Curriculum Review board to set up standards for ASL as a world language; and authoring several writings, including “Deaf Community and Culture”, “Gallaudet’s Triumph – A Special Manual for International Students”, “The Four Hands of Mission Work with Deaf People” (original and expanded versions), and is currently working on a textbook entitled “Deaf Culture Made Easy”. He was also Director of the Deaf Department at Calvary Road Baptist church in Alexandria, VA. Dr. Love currently works as a high school instructor and is Program Coordinator of the Deaf Ministry at McLean Bible Church’s Tyson campus in Vienna, VA.
Interpreting in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Monica Mack has been providing interpreting services in English and American Sign Language within the Washington, DC-Metropolitan Area for over a decade. In the spring of 2005, she graduated from Gallaudet University with a Master of Arts degree in Interpretation. She has experience interpreting in a variety of settings. She would like to share her knowledge of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and what you should know if and when you interpret in this setting.
Understanding the Difference between Communication vs Connection for the Deaf Ministry Leader & His/Her Congregation
Pauline Rose Moore
For the majority of hearing religious institutions, connecting with deaf and hard of hearing church attendees is an anomaly. In Deaf Ministry Leaders frustration, they may become angry, dissociate, and eventually burnout from what they know to be their life’s calling. As an interpreter and/or member of the Deaf Ministry team, one must possess fundamental communication and connection skills, in order to educate one’s congregation about the needs of Deaf souls and in order to be an effective leader.
In this interactive workshop, the presenter will discuss common communication pitfalls in Deaf ministry leading to stalled or steadily declining ministries; introduce foundational leadership skills, the 5 Principles and 3 Practices to Connection, and how they extend beyond communication. Participants will immediately begin to apply what is learned and leave with confidence, excitement, and a renewed sense of purpose in continuing the work of Christ; while creating partnerships and an effective team atmosphere in their respective worship settings.
Deception: A Survivor’s Story
A survivor of educator sexual abuse, Deb is the author of Deception: A Deaf Girl’s Journey through Trust, Betrayal, Abuse and Redemption (2014). After 28 years of living in secrecy, Deb sensed the urgency to write her story. Only as Deb neared the book completion did she finally recognize that she was abused and that it was not her fault. She has since become a trainer and aims to provide Awareness and Prevention of Educator Sexual Misconduct training to Deaf schools.
A graduate of Gallaudet University (’89 and ’92), Deb holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling. A mother of five, ages 13 through 23, Deb has been married for 27 years to a wonderful man who has been very supportive during her journey. She serves alongside her husband in the church ministry and has led several marriage enrichment weekends.
Minarets & Mecca & Mosques, Oh My! Interpreting for the World's 2nd Largest Religion
Cheryl Ringel began interpreting in Muslim settings after marrying into a Pakistani-Muslim family. She has interpreted locally, nationally, and internationally for Muslim events and conferences. Her MA in interpretation is from Gallaudet University and she lives in Washington DC with her husband Amir and their son, Bilal; working as a freelance interpreter. Getting the word out that Islam and Muslims are not scary, and that Deaf Muslims are in dire need of qualified interpreters has become somewhat of a passion for Cheryl*. She would be thrilled to see other interested interpreters get involved in this specialized area to open up needed avenues of access for Deaf Muslim Americans
Black Deaf Souls Matter--Can I get an Amen?
Dr. Risa Shariff
Dr. Risa Amacker Shariff, CI and CT is the sixth African-American Ph.D. in the nation who is also a nationally certified interpreter. She has interpreted for over 20 years in both religious and professional environments. She was the first graduate of Gallaudet University’s Ph.D. in the Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners program. Her dissertation focused on the educational experiences of DeafBlind leaders. Dr. Shariff teaches ASL at the secondary and post-secondary levels. She is a wife and the proud mother of three children.
Minarets & Mecca & Mosques, Oh My! Interpreting for the World's 2nd Largest Religion
Mallerie Shirley is a Muslim American Sign Language/English interpreter who learned sign language as a child. Mallerie interprets at Mosques and Islamic events across North America, and occasionally world-wide. The inspiration for this work was seeing too many Muslims miss out on the religion she values so much, including her own brother.
Cultural Access Through a Civil Rights Lens
Ms. Siegel has specialized in cultural access starting at Arena Stage and now as Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She oversees national and international disability, arts and education programs including the VSA Network of organizations engaging in disability arts and education and the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) network of cultural arts administrators addressing access to cultural experiences. She is a respected expert and speaker on topics related to compliance and accessibility to cultural programs and venues for individuals of all ages with disabilities. Ms. Siegel obtained her JD in 2009 and is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Interpreting in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Making the English Tangible
Windell “Wink” Smith Jr.
Wink, NIC Master, enjoys researching and creating workshops related to deliberate practice (RID Views, Winter 2012). He has presented workshops over the last eight years at national (NAD, RID, Silent Weekend, TerpExpo), regional (RID I, II, III, IV, V) and state conferences, local events, as well as presenting online. Wink works to enhance his impact, developing applicable tools for interpreters. Participants appreciate the comfortable atmosphere he creates, and the passion he exudes. Wink travels full time performing and presenting workshops. Through Winkshop, Inc, he has developed a dozen training DVDs. Fun fact: in 2015, Wink’s professional travel covered enough miles to circle the earth over three times.
Rise and Struggle of Deaf Musicians in the Industry, and How You Can Help!
Warren “Wawa” Snipe
Hailing from the landscapes of the DC / MD / VA area, Acclaimed Hip Hop Recording Artist, WAWA, has been hitting the ground running with music with insatiable drive since he first picked up the mic in 2005 and began writing and rhyming at an unstoppable pace.
When you go to “WAWA’s House”, you’ll be taken to a whole new level of music through DEAF eyes! With 15+ years in the game with no signs of slowing down at all, WAWA’s critical reception and positive acclaim has manifested over the years through not only admirable work ethics, but also through a charismatic, diligent original persona and genre that he labels “Dip Hop” (Hip Hop through deaf eyes), a unique sound of audio & imagery that has helped the rising artist garner a growing fanbase that has landed him many opportunities onstage, in the studio, and everything in between that the industry offers.
His rendering of Dip Hop explores Hip Hop in a way where the focus is taking on challenges and educating people about deaf musicians in the hearing world. A pursuit where he hopes to put deaf Recording Artists on the map in the mainstream public interest. Something not only original, but admirable, genuine, and bringing music to a whole new world of audiences of artists where their disadvantage ultimately becomes their biggest one. Something that has strongly showcased WAWA’s interest in inspiring to aspire. Even to those who are more challenged to do so.
This past year in 2016, WAWA released his sophomore album “Deaf: So What?!” An album that further explores the pursuit of proving that a disadvantage can be its polar opposite; an album of inspiration for those to understand and pursue music without the sense of hearing. In 2017, new music in the works, and more steps towards his ultimate goal of turning a disadvantage into a core strength for someone musically, expect nothing short of amazing in the shortcoming for WAWA as the new year makes its arrival!
Stretchercises for the Working Interpreter
Moira Sweeney is an interpreter and yoga instructor currently working in the state of Maryland. She received her NIC certification in January 2007. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200 hour level, having completed her Yoga Teacher Training at the Columbia Yoga Center in October 2006. Early in her interpreting career, Moira recognized that both yoga and ASL involve specific movements of the muscles, mental focus, and attention to the breath for extended periods of time. This specific “Stretchercises” workshop is offered as an opportunity for fellow interpreters to stretch and relax their working muscles outside of a yoga studio. The intent of the “Stretchercises” workshop is to teach interpreters to use their muscles, mind and breath in a safer, more productive manner. Moira interprets and teaches yoga classes for deaf practitioners in the Baltimore area. She has interpreted yoga workshops at Omega Institute in New York, Kripalu Center in Massachusetts, and Maryland University of Integrative Health in Maryland. Her lifelong intentions center on her passion for yoga and her commitment for full and equal access in the deaf community.