CSCC student uses her education to advocate for hearing impaired

Posted 3/13/19

CSCC student uses her education to advocate for hearing impaired

When her son suffered a tragedy that left him deaf, Cleveland State Community College student Amanda Forbes chose to step up and create a platform that will hopefully change the lives of all people who are hearing impaired in Tennessee. She recently attended Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) and presented a bill that addressed the issue of hearing disabilities and how to better support those disabled in drive-thrus. She had no idea the impact the TISL experience would have on her life.

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CSCC student uses her education to advocate for hearing impaired

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When her son suffered a tragedy that left him deaf, Cleveland State Community College student Amanda Forbes chose to step up and create a platform that will hopefully change the lives of all people who are hearing impaired in Tennessee. She recently attended Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature and presented a bill that addressed the issue of hearing disabilities and how to better support those disabled in drive-throughs. She had no idea the impact the TISL experience would have on her life.

When she returned from TISL, she received an email from Hunter McCloud, Speaker of the House Pro Tempore. McCloud informed her that the Executive Council found this bill to be an important piece of legislation, and he wanted to see it advance at the state level. He encouraged her to pursue this further by speaking with representatives to see if any of them would like to back the bill.

Forbes and fellow CSCC senator Cassiopeia Blackburn attended Tennessee’s Disability Day on the Hill in Nashville. It was at this time that they met Rep. Mark Hall (24th District, Cleveland). Blackburn showed him the bill they wrote at TISL, and he told them he wished he had seen the bill prior to the deadline to introduce new bills because this was one he would have definitely been interested in pursuing.

Hall stated, “I want to see you before December, and we are going to write this, and I’m going to put this in general sessions next year, but only on one condition—that I get to call it the ‘John Blackwell Bill.’” (in honor of Forbes’ 7-year-old son)

Forbes said, “I tried so hard not to cry, but this was just so awesome because this bill was my child on paper. This means the world to me. He gave me something that I have been fighting on my own for years. The fact that he looked at me and said that he’s impressed … I don’t have a large enough vocabulary to describe how that made me feel.”

Forbes aspires to use her education to advocate for the hearing impaired. She will graduate from Cleveland State in May and plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and major in communications and minor in political science.

“I don’t think John understands all of this just yet, but he knows that I will do whatever I can to make his life just a little bit easier,” stated Forbes. “I just want him to have the same equal opportunities as everyone else. One day, I hope he will look back and say, ‘My mom did this because she loves me.’”

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