Hawaii News

New videos promote understanding of civil rights in Hawai‘i

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The Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission and the Hawai‘i State Disability and Communication Access Board today announced the availability of a series of educational videos covering basic civil rights.

The two agencies collaborated to produce the video series in American Sign Language, which provides direct information to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind.

“The HCRC [Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission] is keenly aware of the importance of providing access to services for persons in the communities we serve,” said Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission Executive Director Marcus Kawatachi. “We learned from DCAB [Disability and Communication Access Board] and community advocates that English captioning does not provide equal access for some whose first language is ASL [American Sign Language], and this realization led to the development of this project in partnership with DCAB.”

Four videos cover individual rights, communication access discrimination, employment discrimination, and housing discrimination. The fifth video explains the process of filing a complaint with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission if an individual believes discrimination occurred. The videos empower individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind to self-advocate for their civil rights.

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“The ADA requires public entities to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with persons with disabilities are as effective as communications with people without disabilities,” said Kirby Shaw, Disability and Communication Access Board Executive Director. “The videos communicate important civil rights and enforcement information in a format that will be understood by many whose primary language is ASL. DCAB hopes this partnership will serve as a model for other agencies that want to provide information in ASL.”

The Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission has made available basic civil rights videos on its website in English, Chuukese, Marshallese, Ilocano, Tagalog and Hawaiian for years and the expansion to include ASL videos is intended to effectively provide access to basic information to ASL users on state discrimination laws and how to file a complaint with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission.

Discrimination may occur anywhere, whether at work, while traveling, at events, during emergencies, and in other everyday situations. Anyone who comes to the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission can request an ASL interpreter, and one will be provided at no cost. The videos will further the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission’s mission to eliminate discrimination by protecting civil rights and promoting diversity through enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and education.

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The Disability and Communication Access Board serves as the designated state agency to coordinate the efforts of the state to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and serves as a public advocate for persons with disabilities by providing advice and recommendations on matters relating to access for persons with disabilities.

The videos are available on HCRC’s website: https://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/publications/

The videos are also available at DCAB’s website: https://health.hawaii.gov/dcab/

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