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“I’m a Black deaf woman with small ears: How to survive a racist, ableist, and sexist society like a BOSS!”

Monday, August 10th @ 1:30pm

Presentation Abstract: Society labels us before the ink dries on our birth certificate. Our race, sex, and abled bodied status shapes who we are; and, how society views us. As a Black deaf Woman with Bilateral Microtia and Atresia, I will walk you through my lived experiences with intersectionality and how to survive and grow even when the odds are against you. My journey to claim all my identities came with challenges while living in a judgmental and oppressing society. My call to action is to change the narrative and be present instead of expecting others to be your voice. I will provide different learning and resource opportunities to dismantle, acknowledge, and “call-out” racism, sexism, ableism, audism, and microaggressions. Participants will learn that changing their mindset and acknowledge their privilege can help everyone. In some cases, people are not aware of their biases, assumptions, and use of microaggressions. It takes a village to change the world and, now Is the time to speak up for yourself and others like a BOSS. We all have different identities, but we share similar struggles with oppression, marginalization, and wanting to be accepted, seen, and heard.

Presenter Name: Camilla N. Gilbert, BS, MSW (she/her/hers)

Presenter Bio: Ms. Camilla Gilbert of Cincinnati, Ohio is a Black deaf Woman with Bilateral Microtia and Atresia. For over the last 30 years, Camilla has been an advocate and activist for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities and for people with disabilities. Camilla’s lived experiences with Microtia and Atresia include confusion, isolation, and pressures of societal expectations to be more “able-bodied” versus embracing her deafness. The journey has taught her resiliency, dismantling assumptions regarding people with disabilities, and genuinely being herself. ​

For most of Camilla’s life, she has denied her deaf identity due to societal expectations and focused on politically correct terms labels such as hearing impairment, hard of hearing, or hearing loss. With claiming her deafness, she is a confident woman who educates, mentors, and advocates for others who are need of a little encouragement.

Camilla is a vocal advocate for people with various disabilities. The young girl who hid her deafness from the world is a confident adult who educates and advocates for others. She is the recipient of the 2015 Oticon Focus on People Award for Advocacy. She served as a board member for the non-profit organization Ear Community, past president of the Southwest Ohio Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio) in Computer Science and Mathematics. Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Certificate in Deaf Studies from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (Cincinnati, Ohio). ​

Camilla is currently attending Northern Kentucky University for a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership. Camilla’s research topic will be Disability Studies, and will share her lived experiences as a Black woman with Microtia and Atresia. ​

Camilla is the Founder and Owner of Microtia Life, LLC. Microtia Life’s mission is to empower individuals with disabilities to defeat all odds and become knowledgeable through education, advocacy, and mentorship. The vision is to acknowledge Ableism, Audism, and Able-Bodied privilege in order to dismantle the marginalization and oppression towards the disability community. ​

Lastly, Camilla is the mother to one daughter, Jada who is the reason why she is motivated to empower others. Camilla feels you cannot be a role model to your child, if you are not willing to share your wisdom and experiences with others.

Not registered yet? Complete your registration here before Monday, August 10th.


This publication is supported in part by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Rape Prevention Education, by Grant No. ODH Project Number: 01860214VW0820 awarded to the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence by the Department of Health. It is also supported in part by VOCA Grant No. 2020-VOCA-132920668; and by subgrant No. 2019-WF-VA7-8919 awarded by the state administering office for the STOP Formula Grant Program. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, the Ohio Department of Health, or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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