Chicago attorney to lead National Association of the Deaf

March 10, 2011 9:59:06 AM PST
A local attorney is heading to D.C. to head up the nation's largest civil rights organization for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Looking forward to a new challenge, Howard Rosenblum will represent 28 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing.

For 9 years, Rosenblum, 44, has worked at Equip for Equality as a senior attorney.

"We advocate for people with disabilities in different areas," said Rosenblu. "I've been working in special education and doing a lot of training for the training institute for Equip for Equality. We give people knowledge about their rights as a person with a disability."

Prior to working at Equip, Rosenblum spent 10 years at a private law firm that specializes in disability rights.

In 1999, Rosenblum created a not-for-profit law center.

"When I first became a lawyer back in 1992, a lot of deaf and hard of hearing contacted me wanting help in representation, but I was the only profoundly deaf attorney in Illinois at that time," said Rosenblum. "Now there are two.

"So I established the Midwest Center of Law and the deaf deaf people have place where they can go and be referred to a lawyer that is willing to communicate with them."

Starting April 1, Rosenblum will be the CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.

"It's been advocating for the rights of people to work and live and go anywhere," said Rosenblum, "and have access to television and the internet, telephone communication, and several other things that are provided for people in terms of advances because the deaf community has been behind.

"Right now, deaf and hard of hearing people have about 60 percent unemployment rate, and I want to make sure that changes. Education right now for many deaf children is not at the standard reading level that it should be, and right now the web has a lot of streaming media on it that is not accessible to captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing."

Zena Naiditch, CEO of Equip for Equality, says Rosenblum is the perfect choice for this job.

"Howard is definitely somebody who sees the disability rights movement and that people who are deaf have issues that are unique to that community, but also issues that are shared with the broader community," Naiditch said, "and I think is very good at moving between the broader community and the deaf community."

"I know that we can achieve equality if we work hard at it with all of our allies," said Rosenblum.

Rosenblum also says he is going to miss Chicago.

For more information on NAD and Equip for Equality visit: