What We Do
The Mayor’s Office of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing addresses the disparities that adversely impact the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened in the District of Columbia.
- Ensure that through policy development, advocacy, community engagement and information sharing; a solution-oriented approach is developed that addresses the issues of language deprivation, poverty, accessibility policies, economic opportunity, health and well-being, as well as community integration.
- Connect Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened residents with the city services they may need.
- Host events that enrich, promote, and bring together the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened community of the District.
- Outreach: MODDHH focuses on establishing public and private partnerships, engaging residents in all eight wards, and disseminating information to the District’s Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened residents to increase their knowledge of and access to vital programs and services available to them.
- Language Access Support: MODDHH provides technical support to DC Government Agencies covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that culturally and linguistically competent city services are delivered to ASL/PTASL/BASL using residents of the District.
- Technical Support: MODDHH provides development, training, and support for community service agencies to help improve business processes and make it easier for these agencies to serve the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened population of the District of Columbia.
- Provide programs and workshops for Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened in the District to advance their education, health and employment status.
Meet the Director
Kari Cooke, a proud resident of Ward 5, was announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the inaugural Director of the Office for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing on June 13, 2022. In her first 3 months, she hosted townhalls in each ward as part of a listening tour, established the office framework, mission, structure, and staffing as the inaugural director, and developed the Washington, DC Commission for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing. Director Cooke has an established career in policy development and community engagement through her work at the Center for Disability Rights, National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), and the U.S. Dept. of Labor affiliate programs. Director Cooke specializes in working with under-served populations, including but not limited to deaf youth, homeless veterans, and formerly incarcerated persons. She most recently served as a Fellow of the Stagen Leadership Academy, Vice President of programs at a Community Services for the Deaf, and Assistant Dean at Dartmouth College.
Cooke is committed to community engagement, and as a result of her outreach she expanded her coalition-building impact with nonprofit and governmental groups such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women's Media Center, International Deaf Education, Advocacy, & Leadership and The New Leaders Council. She also is a founder of the Black Deaf Womxn’s Development Foundation.
Director Cooke was recognized for her advocacy having been appointed by NY Governor Cuomo to the New York State Independent Living Council, along with her work as the inaugural Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs for NBDA. In 2014 she was appointed to the Obama Administration's FCC Disability Advisory Council. A speaker with TEDx, a U.S. Delegate with the United Nations-ILYA, and a member of the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, Director Cooke is dedicated to using a liberation ethic to address societal transformation.
The Mayor’s Office of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing (MODDHH) was established as a result of the passage of the DC Council legislation and signed into law by Mayor Bowser. The purpose of MODDHH is to advance the civil rights of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened (D/DB/DD/HH/LD) communities by ensuring and overseeing District-wide compliance with laws that affect the corresponding communities; as well as provide D/DB/DD/HH/LD District of Columbia residents with access to constituent development programs, resources, and services.
The mission of the MODDHH is to address the important concerns of D/DB/DD/HH/LD residents through addressing a broad range of social and economic needs through strategic management of public and private partnerships, expertise on policy, community relations, civic engagement, building a cohesive community across all eight wards, and providing resources for marginalized D/DB/DD/HH/LD populations. The MODDHH tracks local D/DB/DD/HH/LD issues, concerns and proposals and annually presents these ideas to the Mayor and the DC Council. Home to the largest ASL using workforce in the United States, the District of Columbia will become a leader in Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing civil rights in the nation.
Annually MODDHH will report the following according to the council mandate:
(A) An analysis of the accessibility of District programs for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities; and
(B) An evaluation of the availability of American Sign Language interpretation, real-time captioning, assistive listening systems, and other language access measures for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities, at agencies and the Council; and
(C) Recommendations for new laws, policies, or programs that address the needs of the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities.
The Mayor’s Office of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing
Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center
2000 14th St. NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 727-9493
Email: [email protected]
To learn more about how the Mayor’s Office of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing can help you navigate through District government, please contact us at [email protected].