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: