Mark Levin: The online videos that really inspire me (and don’t involve people hearing for the first time)

Posted on October 8, 2014

The Deaf community has been up in arms the past couple of months about viral stories that have been dominating the Internet.

Whether it is videos of an individual hearing noise for the first time after getting their cochlear implant activated or fitted with hearing aids, or a sign language interpreter or student of the language reaching viral success signing a song and running with their newfound fame.

It’s wonderful that sign language has been in the press so much lately, but it seems that while sign language is getting quite the spotlight there haven’t been too many Deaf spokespeople to go along with the stories.

Let’s turn the spotlight around, and really share some stories that are worth highlighting that folks in both the Deaf and hearing community may not know about.

The reason that many of those stories and videos have gone viral is that people love their feel-good stories, and they love sharing them.

There’s a lot of inspiring, positive stories happening out there in the Deaf community that our hearing companions can learn about and share.

Everyone of these individuals or collective of them overcame the odds and worked hard to achieve their mission. Here are just a few stories of many that inspire me, and make me proud to be a part of the Deaf community.

Motion Savvy:

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A start-up tech company comprised of students from Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) took third place at NTID’s ‘Next Big Idea’ competition, and moved out to San Francisco to undertake the task of seeing their vision become a reality.

Motion Savvy’s vision – create real-time sign language translation technology to allow effortless communication between an individual who is signing and a hearing peer.

With a functional prototype already in beta test mode, this company comprised of talented, smart, young leaders are sure to change the future of communication for the Deaf. You’ll be seeing a lot more from them soon!

D-PAN Artists Page:

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Yes, I work for D-PAN, but there is no bias here.

I am blessed to be in such a position that allows me to constantly surround myself with talent that inspires me. Everyone on this page, and many, many more talented artists, actors, directors, musicians, photographers, performers have all overcame many challenges, frustrations, and rejection to get where they are and receive worldwide recognition.

These are a group of people that won’t take NO for an answer, and for that I am proud to contribute and acknowledge the many fine folks on this page, and the many that have yet to be shared.

No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie

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No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie is the FIRST commercial feature film of its kind, with a Deaf cast of executive producers, directors, and actors.

No Ordinary Hero tells the story of a Deaf actor Tony Kane (played by actor John Maucere) who plays a superhero on TV and looks beyond his cape to influence a Deaf boy to redefine what “being normal” means.

In doing so, he also finds inspiration to transform himself. It highlights successes and struggles that many individuals in the Deaf community deal with on a regular basis that hearing viewers may not be aware of.

With screenings all around the world, this movie will win over both hearing and Deaf audiences.

Mozzeria & Signs

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Both these restaurants have quite the buzz, not just because their food is delicious, but Mozzeria is Deaf owned and operated and at Signs restaurant, customers get a rare or unique experience.

While Mozzeria has been around for a few years, a new restaurant Signs, located in Toronto, Canada recently opened.

At Signs guests can order in their native ASL, and if they don’t know the language, menus are provided that teach them signs, and guests interact with a full Deaf wait-staff, bartenders, and chefs.

Both these restaurants cater to many positive reviews, and are doing great things bringing communities together with a common ground – good food.

Keith Nolan

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His name has appeared in the news quite a few times in the past couple years, but Keith Nolan is at it again, making his voice, and many others, heard.

Nolan has been actively rallying in support of allowing Deaf to enlist in the military in the United States and become officers.

Individuals with hearing loss are allowed to serve as cadets, but not allowed to rise in rank. There are other countries throughout the world that mandate military service of their citizens and welcome the Deaf, such as Israel.

Through his outspoken efforts, two bills have been filed in congress to propose a demonstration program allowing 15-20 Deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to receive training to be officers in the U.S. Air Force.

These are just a handful of positive things taking place in our community that we should be sharing and talking about.

The more attention we give to news, events, stories and videos taking place that should be shared, the less we will see of the news we are tired of being passed around.

While some of these stories may be old news to us in the Deaf community, our hearing companions may not be in the loop.

Share this article with your friends and family and start showing them the exciting things we are doing to better the world and bridge the gap between two communities.

Losing his hearing at the age of three never slowed Mark Levin down. Graduating from Columbia College Chicago in 2008 with a B.A. in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management, Mark has an all around passion for the music & entertainment industry. For the past 7 years Mark has worked with Sean Forbes and D-PAN: Deaf Professional Arts Network as a Tour & Event Manager, Assistant Director of Film, Guitarist, and many other roles. He has a passion for inspiring others and changing the worlds perception of the ever growing talents of the Deaf community. To learn more about Mark and see his past work, you can visit his website at

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