TDI 24th Biennial Conference Day 1 – Overview

24th Biennial Conference

On July 26th, 2021 at 1pm EDT, TDI Conference will open with Jan Withers, TDI Board President welcoming everyone to TDI’s first ever fully virtual conference while recognizing the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. At the conclusion of her remarks, she’ll introduce the conference’s main keynoter, newly installed acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

While this will be the second consecutive time Ms. Rosenworcel has been our keynote speaker at the conference, it’ll be her first time in her new capacity as the leading chairperson of the Federal Communication Commission. Given the remarkable progress in the Commissioner’s first 100 days, all eyes will be on her speech as she sets the tone for the conference.  

We are ecstatic to have Ms. Rosenworcel with us, and commend the work she and her fellow three FCC Commissioners (Brendan Carr, Geoffrey Starks, and Nathan Simington) have done thus far. They’ve unanimously taken action on Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers,  the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, improving the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts, allowing Text-to-988, reducing Interstate Rates and Charges for Incarcerated People, strengthening support for Video Relay Service, and starting progress on quality metrics for caption telephone services. Their progress is nothing short of remarkable, and we look forward to seeing what Ms. Rosenworcel will share with us.

Following Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s address, there will be a town hall discussion hosted by Mark Seeger, TDI Board of Directors Central Region Representative, with representatives from the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Bureau and the Disability Rights Office, Diane Burstein, Suzy Rosen Singleton, Eliot Greenwald, Will Schell, and Debra Patkin. 

The Town Hall will be a one-hour discussion and deaf and hard of hearing consumers are invited and encouraged to attend, learn about what the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and Disability Rights Office is doing for us. Conference attendees are invited to ask questions to better understand and we can help strengthen telecommunication, media, and information ecology policies benefiting people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

A new program added to the conference is the Fireside Chat, featuring Eric Kaika, CEO of TDI engaging in a hearty dialogue with three guests: Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Cordano, President of Gallaudet University; Barbara Kelley, Executive Director of Hearing Loss Association of America; and Howard Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer of National Association of the Deaf. 

The Fireside Chat will have these four organizational leaders talking about how the community adapted during COVID-19. They will discuss the communication accessibility barriers that arose for everyone as we shifted to a quarantine state, and share perspectives on the hurdles that remain when working remotely, and the accessibility issues that need to be addressed to ensure everyone is equitable at work, school, medical settings, and within the community.

We’ll begin wrapping up the first day with the President’s Reception with Jan Withers. President Withers will be hosting her first TDI Presidential Reception, giving us all an insight into seeing what TDI has done for the past two years. The Reception also acts as the TDI Biennial Meeting, providing members with an update on TDI’s operations, finances, and its new two-year strategic plan. Be sure to tune in and see what TDI has planned for its future!

We will conclude the first day by recognizing and commending those who have made significant impact in communication and information technology access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The TDI Board of Directors review nominations made by the general membership and select at least six individuals or companies to be awarded one of the six TDI Awards.

Hosted by Jim House, TDI Board of Directors West Region representative.Join us in celebrating these soon announced recipients for their accomplishments!

  • The H. Latham Breunig Award for Humanitarian Efforts
  • The Robert H. Weitbrecht Award for Telecommunications Access
  • The Andrew Saks Award for Engineering
  • The James C. Marsters Award for Promotion
  • The Karen Peltz Strauss Award for Public Policy
  • The I. Lee Brody Lifetime Achievement Award

About TDI
TDI is a national nonprofit organization shaping the nation’s public policies in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to advance the interests of the 48 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, deafblind, and deaf with mobility issues.