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Vicki Levengood leads media relations efforts on behalf of the Department and Commission. In April, MDCR and MCRC issued five press releases:

We also responded to a significant number of media inquiries and conducted interviews on a wide variety of topics including anti-Asian bias incidents, sexual harassment complaints, sign language interpreters and Deaf culture, racist graffiti at Albion College, the racial harassment of a student in Hartland Schools, complaints from prisoners, the CROWN Act, Native American Heritage Fund grants, and a number of inquiries related to specific complaints filed with the department. In April, the Department and the Commission saw a minimum of 38 media mentions.

MDCR Communications also finalized a HUD grant-funded ad in the Michigan Chronicle on fair housing, which ran in the paper's April 28 edition.

On April 8, Vicki received an after-hours call from the vaccine clinic at Ford Field in Detroit. MSP and FEMA got word of a false flyer announcing a special vaccination clinic with 50 vaccines available the next day for individuals who were deaf. The reality is that Ford Field provides accommodations for deaf individuals to be vaccinated every day. Vicki and DODDBHH Director Annie Urasky immediately prepared and distributed an urgent edition of the Division's newsletter to the Deaf community, alerting them to the false information and providing specific instruction on how to have an ASL interpreter on site during vaccination. Annie also did extensive outreach to her own network of contacts in the D/DB/HH and advocacy community. Thanks to Annie for partnering with Comms on this rapid response action!

April was busy for social media! Communications ran three social media campaigns: Deaf History Month, Arab American Heritage Month, and Autism Acceptance Month. Every day from March 13 to April 15, MDCR posted a historical fact about the Deaf community. For the other two campaigns, we alternated between them each day, sharing leader profiles and facts about the groups.

JJ wrote scripts and coached talent on American Sign Language for fair housing videos, which were produced and edited by Deaf Performing Arts Network. The videos are part of the HUD grant project. The first ASL video was released via the DODDBHH newsletter and is being distributed twice weekly on MDCR and DODDBHH's Facebook pages and on MDCR's Twitter. A second video is in progress, and will also be distributed twice weekly.

With the help of Jackie and Vicki, JJ developed a communications plan for promoting 'Coping with COVID-19', a video produced by the ADA Compliance Division, LEO and MDHHS. The video focuses on mental health tips and will premiere on the MDCR Facebook page on April 13 at 9 am. Share with your family and friends!

Jackie developed 44 graphics for our social media accounts, which included cover photos for Autism Acceptance and Arab American Heritage Month in April, Jewish American and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, and daily posts for Deaf History Month, which wrapped up on April 15. She also continues to work diligently on the website migration project to ensure MDCR's website makes a seamless transition from its current content management system (Vignette) to its new platform on Sitecore later this summer. Jackie has been responsible for much of the work behind recent editions of CROWN, including writing articles, gathering photos and creating graphics.