Saluting ALDA’s Achievement

The end result of the ALDA vs Cinemark lawsuit was spectacular: Cinemark has agreed to provide a closed captioning option at all its first-run theaters. This landmark development–the availability of captioning at all rather than a couple of a theater’s first-run movies–rode on the  shoulders of the lobbying efforts of hundreds of individuals and all major deaf and hard-of-hearing consumer organizations. As the case brewed, Cinemark quietly began to make its theaters in the Seattle area more accessible and, facing a similar lawsuit, Regal Cinemas pledged to provide the necessary equipment for captioning at their theaters nationwide. These developments should be the tipping point for captioning by the other major theater chains and thus the culmination of a long, long battle and elusive dream for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

The Cinemark lawsuit was initiated by two ALDAns, Linda Drattell and Rick Rutherford, with the support of the ALDA Board of Directors. Another ALDAn, lawyer John Waldo, was co-counsel in the suit. ALDA’s persistence in this case is commendable; the results truly historic. What some people may not know, ALDA is the largest all-volunteer consumer organizations for deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States. Yes, it’s an all-volunteer group, and what a dedicated group of volunteers they are. ALDA’s significance to people who become deaf as adults cannot be overstated: many members credit the organization with helping them bridge feelings of social isolation and loss to a life of companionship and purpose . The culture of ALDA, anchored by its philosophy of whatever-it-takes communication modes, is unique and cherished.

ALDA is the youngest of all the major organizations for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, For many years now, ALDA’s dream has been to establish a national office with a paid staff. The Cinemark case can be a tipping point for that achievement as well. There is no better way to salute ALDA than to help make its own dream possible. Consider donating to the organization’s efforts to build a national office and staff. Any amount helps (and big amounts help more! ). Follow this hyperlink and click on “General” to make it happen.

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