Sunday, June 8, 2014

Captions Capture the Votes

Millions of people rely on captions. That number includes the deaf and hard of hearing and also those who use English as a second language. Captions give us equal access to communication. This is important when it comes to major decisions like who to elect to our government.

To address this issue, a nonprofit organization called CCAC (Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning) is sponsoring a nonpartisan campaign in the United States. This campaign involves contacting candidates for political office and requesting that they add captioning to their online videos and make real-time captioning available for their live events. For candidates willing to do this, CCAC will post their names to a national list that will receive widespread distribution.

I am supporting CCAC's campaign as the state team leader for Illinois. Last night I sent out my first requests using candidates' Contact Us forms on their campaign websites. I was surprised to discover that I was unable to contact some of the Chicago representatives because my zip code fell outside their districts. [If anyone reading this is a resident of Chicago and would like to help me out, please contact me.]

Here is the sample email I am using to introduce myself to the candidates and explain the campaign.

Hi {Candidate’s First Name}, 

My name is Sarah, I’m an Illinois voter, and I want to tell you about an exciting non-partisan campaign to help candidates reach more voters and help voters understand candidates’ messages. This campaign called Captions Capture the Votes is about providing captioning for videos on the web and real-time captioning for live campaign events so you can expand your reach to the hard of hearing and deaf communities as well as those who use English as a second language. The organization I am affiliated with is called Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning or CCAC for short. Their website link with more information about this campaign is

CCAC will publish a listing, nationally, in wide networks, of candidates who are providing access for their 2014 campaigns with captioning. 

If you would like to be a part, please contact me. If you need help getting started with captioning, CCAC can give you a listing of service providers. 

Sarah Wegley, a volunteer citizen advocate for equal communication access

Readers, if you would like to join CCAC in this effort, contact the organization at

To learn more, please visit  or their Facebook page at

See also CCAC founder Lauren Storck's guest post on my friend Joyce Edmiston's blog, Xpressive Handz

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