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PR Win: Bloomberg’s Sign-Language Specialist Becomes an Advocate for the Deaf

Hey, remember Lydia Callis? Sure you do—she became an instant YouTube celebrity last October for her repeat appearances at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s side during Hurricane Sandy. Her animated sign-language style and the obvious passion she poured into her job endeared her to millions; she even inspired a Saturday Night Live skit.

So what’s she doing now? She’s parlayed her fame into a new role as an advocate for the deaf in New York. Right now she’s leading sign-language tours at New York Public Library, but her ambitious goal is to make more Americans aware of the challenges their hearing-impaired neighbors face every day. It’s a real problem—deaf customers recently filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for discrimination at the coffee shop’s Manhattan branches.

Speaking to the New York Times about the media frenzy, she said:

Seriously, when is this going to die down? Wow, people just really don’t know much about the deaf community.

Lydia knows of what she speaks: while she is not deaf, her mother and three siblings are, so ASL was her first language. Seems like she’d make a perfect advocate, no?

Here’s the clip in case you forgot:

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