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A Step Toward Accessibility — The Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill 

July 25, 2023

A Step Toward Accessibility — The Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill 

July 25, 2023
July 25, 2023

Tomorrow is the 33rd anniversary of the passing of the American with Disabilities Act! To celebrate, Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts has introduced a new accessibility-focused bill: the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill which addresses the shortcomings of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that was passed in 2010. We need your help in letting your congressperson know how important the passage of this bill is to Deaf, hard of hearing, and disabled communites.

The History of the CVAA Bill

The CVAA was a milestone, aimed at improving accessibility to modern communication platforms, including the internet and mobile devices, for people with disabilities, including our Deaf and hard of hearing community. It addressed essential accessibility features such as closed captioning, video description, and accessible user interfaces, promoting inclusivity and bridging the communication gap.  

However, over time, it became evident that the CVAA did not evolve at the same pace as technology. As new technologies emerged, such as video conferencing, live streaming, and social media platforms, accessibility provisions under the CVAA fell behind. Many Deaf and hard of hearing individuals found themselves once again facing communication barriers in the rapidly advancing digital landscape. 

Recognizing the need for improvements, Senator Edward J. Markey stepped forward with a renewed initiative, the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill. Today, July 25, 2023, Senator Markey took action by reintroducing this crucial bill, bringing accessibility regulations up to speed with modern technologies. It proposes comprehensive improvements to existing accessibility provisions, mandating real-time captioning and sign language interpretation for video content across various online platforms. It also called for enhanced accessibility features in communication devices, ensuring that future technologies consider the needs of all users. 

What Can You Do?

There are several ways to get involved and help push for the passing of the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill.

Talk about it. One of the most impactful ways is to raise awareness about the bill and its significance among friends, family, and colleagues. Engage in discussions on social media, attend community events, and reach out to local representatives to express your support for the bill. 

Share your stories and experiences. Another powerful way to advocate for the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) is to share personal stories and experiences of how inaccessible communication technologies have affected your life or the lives of your loved ones. These stories can humanize the issue and demonstrate the urgent need for improved accessibility. 

Contact your U.S congressperson. This is the most important action you can take. Tell them directly that they need to support you by voting for this bill. We have created several templates for you to use.

A Step Forward

Today, the introduction of the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act (CVTA) Bill is marking a promising step toward a more inclusive and accessible digital world for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. While the road to passing this bill may be challenging, the collective efforts of the community, along with the support of allies and legislators, can bring about a future where communication barriers are a thing of the past. Together, we can build a world where technology truly serves everyone, regardless of their hearing abilities. 

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