Faces Behind the Screen: Kerry Thompson
Kerry Thompson is an activist by day and dancer by night. Kerry is the Founder and Executive Director of Silent Rhythms, Inc., which began in 2008 to adapt dance for people of all abilities. Silent Rhythms, Inc. strives to customize the dance to meet the needs of the individual and not the other way around.
In addition to her dancing, Kerry received her Master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and works as the Information and Program Coordinator for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. In this role, Kerry manages day-to-day activities for the operation, provides program support, coordinates biannual meetings, and maintains the website and social media presence. Her activism is driven by her own experience and challenges that she has faced as a person with Deafblindness.
“When I’m sitting on the train, people look at me– give me these glances. I feel a lot of people pity me, or they’re confused. So that I, unfortunately, experience discrimination at work, too. When I’m going outside, when I’m dancing even– there’s no place to hide from discrimination. It’s always out there, but I’m always trying to do my best to educate people and to lead by example. And I’m really trying. You know, I really want to try my best to give people a different perspective.”
In the second part of Kerry’s story, she candidly shares how she is continuing to lose more and more of her sight and the struggle she faces preparing to accommodate that. As Kerry is transitioning from being Deaf to DeafBlind, she explains that technology is not “one size fits all” when it comes to being accessible for different individuals. Some tools that work for those who are Deaf may not work well for those who are DeafBlind. All sorts of additional things need to be considered including how captions are displayed. Discover more of Kerry’s story by viewing part two of her interview!
Watch our video interview with Kerry to learn more about her incredible story! Stay tuned for more of her story in another video next week.
In the last part of Kerry’s interview, discover how her passion for disability rights and dance led her to establish Silent Rhythms. When Kerry established Silent Rhythms there were several goals in mind – she not only wanted to teach people salsa but promote inclusiveness for people with disabilities and teach sign language as well. Silent Rhythms and Kerry’s Salsa-ASL program have since been a huge success and continue to bring people together.
Faces Behind the Screen would like to thank Kerry Thompson for participating in our storytelling project. If you’re interested in sharing your story with us, fill out our nomination form.
Faces Behind the Screen is a storytelling project focusing on members of the Deaf and hard of hearing community.