Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) announced the addition of TJay Middlebrook to its Board of Directors. Middlebrook joins eight other board members who guide CSD’s overall strategies, promote innovative thinking about the future of CSD, and strategize ways to unleash transformational impact in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Middlebrook is an equity-focused leader who has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights and needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. His advocacy spans the globe, successfully affecting policy changes for disability communities in Uganda as well as in the United States.
“We’re excited to welcome TJay to our board,” said Board Chair Rogelio Fernandez. “He brings diverse expertise and insight to our social impact efforts and goals of inspiring equitable policy changes.”
“CSD has always shown such amazing support within the community. I would like to be part of that change and direction,” said Middlebrook. “I look forward to supporting deaf, deafblind, deafdisabled, and hard-of-hearing communities of color and bringing their voices to the table and inspiring changes that uplift others so they can succeed.”
According to CSD, Middlebrook has a proven track record of advocating for disability rights throughout different sectors. In 2013, he traveled to Uganda to educate deaf Ugandans about self-advocacy in communication access. He also supported the Uganda Association of the Deaf and the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development to amend the country’s Persons with Disabilities Act of 2006. In Minnesota, Middlebrook collaborated with domestic violence shelters and organizations to develop procedures that guarantee accessible communication and other accommodations for deaf adults and children who are survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Later, as an accessibility coordinator for the City of Saint Paul in Minnesota, Middlebrook worked closely with public officials and agencies to enforce accessibility throughout the city’s services and programs.
“Tjay’s professional background in accessibility and DEI programs, as well as his experience with municipal and state programs in Minnesota infuses important and essential depth to the work of our board,” said CSD CEO Chris Soukup. “He has previously worked with CSD as a featured speaker and consultant; his outstanding contribution is, in part, why he was invited to serve on our board.”
Middlebrook currently serves at the Minnesota Department of Human Services as a regional service supervisor. He oversees regional services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals as well as individuals experiencing hearing loss.