Recent announcement from Colorado Law Clinical Professor and Silicon Flatirons Telecom and Platforms Initiative Director, Blake Reid, director of the The Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (TLPC):
[On September 29, 2022] the FCC voted to approve a long-in-the-works item requiring carceral communications companies to facilitate access to video relay, captioned telephone services, and direct video calling to incarcerated people with disabilities who use ASL, video, and captions to communicate with friends, family, attorneys, and support networks, announced here by FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel.
The decade-plus-long effort was led by HEARD, a grassroots organization dedicated to providing support to incarcerated people with disabilities and their families. The TLPC got involved in 2020 to help provide legal support for HEARD’s advocacy via our work with a coalition of national organizations representing deaf and hard of hearing communities. I am so proud of the eleven TLPC student attorneys across three academic years who contributed work product across two rounds of rulemaking, filing an array of comments, replies, motions, and other submissions, organizing coalition meetings, meeting with FCC staffers and leadership, and other work to help get this item across the finish line.
For anyone interested in more context about the communities and issues involved, I also wanted to pass along a video memorial to Alphonso Taylor, a DeafDisabled formerly incarcerated person subject to the injustice of being denied access to communications, who passed away shortly after sharing his experiences with the FCC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPHeFX8HeAk
Hearing Alphonso’s name and advocacy ring out in the FCC’s meeting room as Commissioners cited him in their commentary today was a powerful moment.
I also wanted to share a video from last week where Talila (“TL”) Lewis, an incredible advocate who has led HEARD for the past decade and whom we have gotten to work closely with over the past two years, received the prestigious McGannon Award at the annual Parker Lecture in DC and spoke about their work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM_fzbgyqKo&t=2154s.