A Review of TDI Activities in 2020

Needless to say, 2020 will be a year none of us will forget, a year that brought difficult challenges, yet also opportunities to initiate new ideas and strategies.

We are looking forward to 2021 and hope it brings everyone much happiness, health, and success.

From January to March, TDI wrapped up its planning for the newly created Training Institute program. A few weeks before the day of the event, the covid-19 pandemic greatly altered everyone’s lives. Around this time, TDI announced the hiring of Eric Kaika as the new CEO, replacing Claude Stout, the Executive Director of TDI for 23 years.

Between April and June, the TDI Board of Directors met virtually for the first time and had a productive two-day meeting. The Board also appointed three new at-large members, Tina Childress, Mei Kennedy, and Opeoluwa Sotonwa. Their term will continue to 2024. TDI also lost two long time TDI advocates: Dr. Roy Miller (former TDI Board President) and one of the original TDI Agents Stephen Brenner.  Claude and Eric underwent an intensive transition over a period of two and half months. After nearly a hundred introductory meetings, reviewing TDI operations, and transferring dozens of boxes, Claude officially retired in June. Eric crafted his vision for TDI and shared it in TDI World 51.2.

To close out the rest of the summer, TDI announced the 2nd scholarship cohort for its annual Communication Access Scholarship Program, awarding six recipients. TDI switched to an online version of the Blue Book, TDIBlueBook.com. The paper version of the book will no longer be printed for a number of reasons. The online version allows people to self-manage their listing, which ensures accuracy, and brings more focus to deaf-owned businesses and other companies working for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Another change is the restructuring of the TDI membership rates, now a flat $25 annual rate for everyone. There is also the professional membership, which is available to those who actively participate and monitor accessibility policy and frequently attend TDI events and receptions. To learn more about TDI membership rates, visit our website at: TDIforAccess.org/membership

The Fall season came and TDI had its final Board meeting of the year in October and started the groundwork for a new strategic plan, the 2021 biennial conference, an endowment fund, and a few other ancillary items. The same month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded Claude Stout, along with Karen Peltz Strauss and Tom Wlodkowski, the Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA); it was the first the FCC awarded individuals for this award.

Due to the escalating Covid-19 cases merging into flu season, TDI cancelled its annual holiday party and created a video to share with everyone (see below).

TDI submitted 23 filings to the Federal Communications Commission in 2020. Some of our notable filings were about:

  • Opposing RTT deadline extension request by non-Tier 1 Carriers
  • 988 National Suicide Hotline
  • Repeal Equal Access & Billing Options
  • Relay Emergency Waivers during Covid-19
  • Comments for FCC’s CVAA Biennial Report to Congress
  • Comments on InnoCaption ASR Certification
  • Comments on ClearCaptions ASR Certification
  • Deaf Prisoners Access to TRS
  • Comments on CaptionCall ASR Certification

TDI 2020 Holiday Party Video