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Conference Program

View or download the ADARA 2020 program via Whova

The Learning Center for the Deaf

Host of ADARA 2020


Continuing Education for select disciplines!

2020 Theme:
CHAMP!  Creating Standards of Excellence forDeaf
Mental Health and Related Services

Featured Presenters



Najma Johnson
Keynote Speaker

Najma Johnson is the Executive Director of DAWN. A BlackDeafBlindPanQueer folk (they and them pronouns), Johnson is an anti-violence community collectivist. They offer spaces and facilitate dialogue within the Deaf community about interpersonal violence, anti-violence, survivor-centric based accountability, and healthy/safe relationships. Johnson has worked with DDDDBHH BIPOC sex workers, trafficking survivors, victims of law enforcement violence, domestic violence survivors, and sexual violence survivors who have experienced cultural challenges that arise from seeking Deaf services due to intersectional identities. Johnson is a native of Buffalo, New York and graduated from St. Mary’s School for the Deaf in Buffalo. They earned their B.A. in Deaf Studies and M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Gallaudet University. Johnson co-founded Together All in Solidarity (TAS), an umbrella social justice community collaboration that functions as a network for marginalized communities within the Deaf community. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., Johnson provided trauma-informed therapeutic work with SAFE Alliance in Austin, Texas. Johnson’s hope is to continue working with all communities within the Deaf community for the purpose of creating a strong, accountable interdependent community.

ivy headshot

Ivelisse Velez
Roundtable Moderator

Ivy Velez is a grassroots Latina Deaf Community Advocate.  She was born the oldest daughter of Deaf Parents from Puerto Rico and works as the Statewide Coordinator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Supports at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Ivy has a BA degree in Human Services and an MS in Organizational Management and Leadership.

 She has worked in human services for over 30 years.  She has developed specialized consultations, staff trainings and program/process evaluations focusing on intercultural competences and on issues related to valuing diversity within culturally, racially and linguistically diverse schools, workplaces, and organizations.  Ivy has been active in these arenas at the local, state, and national levels.

Ivy also conducted and chaired effective cultural sensitivity workshops, numerous presentations, seminars and panels addressing issues affecting Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers. 

 Ivy lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts where she and her partner of 21 years have raised 5 precious cats.  She is active in the Deaf community and has served as a board member for several organizations.  In her personal time, Ivy enjoys Deaf community theatre and attending Deaf cultural events. 



Kyle Amber Clark
Closing Speaker


Kyle Amber Clark is a clinical mental health therapist with over ten years’ experience. She is licensed to practice social justice counseling in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. She is approved Certified Supervisor, providing clinical supervision for the Mental Health professionals. She is a faculty Instructor at Gallaudet University’s Department of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Also, she is a therapist with the National Deaf Therapy to provide counseling services for the Deaf via the web-based platform. Feminist and Multicultural Social Justice Competencies Framework is something she strives to expand in the Deaf Mental Health Care, to create inclusive practice across the board. 

Interested in sponsoring ADARA 2020 ?

Sponsorship opportunities still available and will be featured at the conference, on the website, and program.  Contact Carla DelPizzo to learn about sponsoring this conference!

ADARA is seeking nominations for individuals deserving of “Outstanding Mental Health Service to Deaf People.” This award will be presented at the ADARA 2020 Breakout Conference.

Boston images provided under Pixabay License.  Commercial use permitted without attribution.