51st Biennial Conference 2021 Recap


51st Biennial Conference Recap

The Texas Association of the Deaf kicked off its 51st Biennial Conference on August 4-7, 2021

Transcend: From the Self to the Community was the theme of the conference, led by the amazing, energetic JoAnn Benfield, Conference Chair. The conference aimed at bringing everyone together to explore who we are and who we could become, and presented a unique opportunity for learning, understanding, and healing. Due to lingering COVID concerns, the entire conference was held Virtually, online via Zoom, so folks could watch everything from the comfort of their homes.

The first 2 days were mostly meetings and an incredible 3-hour long workshop taught by PRP-nationally certified Parliamentarian, Mark Apodaca, from New Mexico. This was followed by the General Meeting, with reports and then the Elections of new TAD Board and Regional Representatives. Results of the TAD elections for 2021-2023 are:

  • President – Norma Castillo – TAD’s FIRST Female Hispanic President!
  • Vice President – Darlene Ballard
  • Secretary – Vacant
  • Treasurer – Michael Swoboda
  • Region Representatives:
    Region 1 – Vacant
    Region 2 – Michael Oyeyemi
    Region 3 – Vacant
    Region 4 – Thumus Lee
    Region 5- Crystal Schwartz/Kimberly Mitchell, Alternate

With all vacancies, the Board will need to appoint people for the Secretary and Regional Reps slots and is looking for deaf individuals skilled in using G-drive and other technology for the Secretary and The Deaf Texan Editor positions.

After the elections, the participants also enjoyed a virtual “Happy Hour” where they could see and chat with other conference attendees. We realize that folks really missed the in-person greetings and warm hugs that really bring everyone together at a live conference, but rest assured that TAD will resume these once the threat of the pandemic is passed. The next TAD Biennial Conference in 2023 is planned for either TAD Region 1 or 3, in conjunction with the TSID. The organizations would have separate programs and hotels, depending on the TAD Board’s best arrangements. Watch for more information!!

The next 2 days began with a fabulous Welcome Keynote by Leila Hanaumi, followed by more than 12 hours of fantastic workshops, by presenters both from Texas and all over the United States! The last evening, in between the exciting Awards presentations by Crystal Schwartz and outgoing President Michael Swoboda, we also enjoyed some truly unique and amazing Entertainment on a variety of platforms: ASL-interpreted songs, Deaf poetry, storytelling, photography, theater, and dance! With an overall viewing time of more than 30 hours for the meetings, elections, workshops, awards, and entertainment, the 51st Biennial/virtual Conference was a huge undertaking, and a huge success!

A Big Wave of Hands to all of the Conference Committee and our generous Sponsors as well – they are listed in the beautiful TAD Conference Program Book (done by Kari Graves) on the TAD website at http://www.TXAD.org. See this for more information on the conference activities, presenters, awards, and entertainment! The upcoming summer issue of The Deaf Texan will also have board reports, meeting minutes, and other conference information. TAD wants to thank everyone for their role in making this 51st TAD Biennial Conference a BIG success!

On behalf of the TAD Board, submitted by Patti Singleton, Ph.D. Editor, The Deaf Texan

To learn more about Texas Association of the Deaf, go to http://www.txad.org or contact us at [email protected]

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