Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Caption Action 2 September Newsletter

Welcome to the September 2009 Caption Action 2 newsletter! Caption Action 2 is the Facebook cause working to help get HR 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, passed in Congress.

As of the date of this newsletter, we have only six cosponsors of HR 3101, the bill that was introduced by Representative Ed Markey (MA). We need MANY more!!! There are over 400 Representatives in Congress, and to date only six are cosponsors of HR 3101.

Who are these six cosponsors? The six cosponsors of HR 3101 to date are:

Israel, Steve (NY)
Lee, Barbara (CA)
Ryan, Tim (OH)
Sanchez, Linda (CA)
Stark, Fortney Pete (CA)
Van Hollen, Chris (MD)

Why Are Cosponsors So Important?

Cosponsors are important because they are the key to getting a bill to pass. Last year, the previous version of the bill did not have enough cosponsors. It had only fifteen cosponsors. So far our bill has only six cosponsors - we need your help to get more cosponsors!

September is an Important Month

We at Caption Action 2 think September could be a very important month for HR 3101. Why do we think it could be important? We looked at the history of the previous bill. We found that Congressmen and Congresswomen signed on as cosponsors in only three months: June, July, and September. After September there were no more new cosponsors. That bill then died.

How Can You Help Get More Cosponsors?

The best way you can help get more cosponsors for HR 3101 is by picking up the phone and calling your Representative's office. Go to http://www.house.gov and select your representative from the drop-down list at the top of the page. This will take you to your representative's website, where you can find the phone number to call.

The next best way you can help get more cosponsors for HR 3101 is by sending an email to your representative. There are two ways to do this. One way is by going to http://www.house.gov and using "Write your representative" in the upper left corner. Another way is by going directly to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can also leave a message for your representative on Facebook or tweet your Representative! In August, Caption Action 2 published two useful lists on the Caption Action 2 blog:

Facebook list: Wall Your Representative On Facebook

Twitter list: Tweet Your Representative About HR3101

There are more than a hundred Representatives on Facebook and Twitter. Easy way to let your Representative know you want him or her to support HR 3101!

If you have a blog, write about HR 3101 and Caption Action 2. If you make vlogs, post a vlog (captioned if possible) about HR 3101. The more of us who "talk" online about HR 3101, the more people who will learn about it and become supporters!

Two known vlogs have already been posted:

Seek Geo has a vlog titled We Need Captions Online! (he mentions how there are fewer written articles online and more news videos, without captions)
Joe Rainmound has a vlog titled Internet Captioning and HR 3101 (he discusses Apple's iTunes University and the lack of captions)

Help Us Grow Bigger

As of the date of this newsletter, Caption Action 2 has a little over 9,000 members. We would like to get it to 10,000 by the time Congress is back at work after Labor Day! Why 10,000? That is a number that should make at least some impression on Congress.

You can help us make it to 10,000 by inviting your friends to join the Caption Action 2 cause. Send your friends the Caption Action 2 url: http://www.causes.com/captionaction2 by email. If you use the Facebook cause "invite" feature, invite only a few people at a time because there is a problem with the Facebook cause "invite" feature.

Download and print the regularly updated Caption Action 2 flyer from the Caption Action 2 blog (You can also save it and email it to people as an attachment):

http://www.furnation.com/boogi/captionaction2.jpg (Graphic)
http://www.furnation.com/boogi/captionaction2.pdf (PDF)

Share this flyer anywhere you think people might be interested in supporting HR 3101: interpreting agencies, audiologists' offices, schools and programs for the deaf, et cetera.

Caption Action 2 Blog Roundup

Congress was not in session in August, but Caption Action 2 kept blogging! These were the highlights for August:

  • Posted a photograph of Jamie Berke with Representative John Conyers, Jr.
  • Posted a letter by Jamie's mother to her own Representative
  • Posted the "Dear Colleague" letter that was sent by Representative Ed Markey to his fellow Congressmen and Congresswomen
  • Posted information about the other benefits of HR 3101 (there's more to it than just captions on the Internet)
  • Posted about the educational benefits of captions

Join Caption Action 2 on Capitol Hill

As we said above, there are over 400 Representatives on Capitol Hill. Caption Action 2 would like to organize a group of people from the Washington, DC metro area to go to Capitol Hill in mid-September and visit Representatives' offices. If you would like to join this group, email Robert Goodwin at rsg0910@yahoo.com or Jamie Berke at deafness.guide@about.com.

Media Coverage of HR 3101

To increase the chances of HR 3101 passing Congress, we need mainstream media coverage! What is mainstream media? It is a regular newspaper like USA Today. Caption Action 2 has been working on contacting newspapers and reporters. So far, none have written about HR 3101, but a couple have expressed interest. Two reporters have interviewed the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) about HR 3101.

You can help by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. An editor that Caption Action 2 talked with told Caption Action 2 that letters to the editor can help. Please let us know if your local newspaper publishes your letter to the editor!


The deaf and hard of hearing community is small. But with our friends, family, and teachers added we become big! In numbers, there is strength! In fact, much of Caption Action 2's growth is coming from people who are not deaf but who care about an accessible future for the deaf and hard of hearing on the Internet. Especially deaf and hard of hearing children.


  1. Now here's a cause I care about! Will this have an effect on the captioning of educational videos in school?

  2. If there is educational programming on regular television with closed captions, that educational programming will have to be captioned on the Internet. This is important because already, some teachers are relying on Internet video as a source of educational material.

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