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The Pearls: Deaf Women Tell All

The Pearls, an event applauding extraordinary Deaf women across America that have transcend their respective fields. Lawyer, fashion designer, entrepreneur, writer, singer, and filmmaker are to name a few.

The Deaf women celebrated at a private affair in Studio City, CA. Watch this video to learn more about each Deaf Women and witness a historical event that has never happen before. Plus, they shared their insights on how they view the world, how they have made it to where they are today, and much more.

The Pearls: Michelle Banks

Michelle Banks is a native of Washington, DC, an award winning actress, writer, director, producer, choreographer, and teacher. Founder/Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre Company (1989-2000). Her television/movie appearances: YAHOO! (commercial), 10-8 (ABC), SOUL FOOD (Showtime), GIRLFRIENDS (UPN), STRONG MEDICINE (Lifetime), COMPENSATION (movie), and SEE WHAT I’M SAYING (documentary) . Michelle co-directed a feature debut, ALWAYS CHASING LOVE with Jadolphus CW Fraser.

The Pearls: Myrna Orleck-Aiello

Myrna Orleck-Aiello is the President and CEO of TCS Associates, based in Wheaton, MD. TCS, founded in 1982, has built the core of its business around providing assistive technology products & services for people with disabilities. TCS also focuses on Section 508 compliance, communications solutions, and information technology consulting. TCS’ clients include State, Local, and Federal Government, Fortune 500 companies, Educational Institutions, Non-Profits, and members of the community.

Mrs. Orleck-Aiello is the first Deaf woman to be awarded the 8(a) Certification by the Small Business Administration, and as President and CEO of TCS, she is directly responsible for the overall internal administration of the company, required to control fiscal responsibility, appropriate personnel management, and sound operational practices.

The Pearls: Mary Rappazzo

Mary A. Rappazzo is a Los Angeles-based fine arts painter, digital artist, and graphic designer. Her recognizable, one-eyed signature style is expressed in bold statements using bright colors, figurative and representational images in idealized forms. She is drawn to themes involving human interaction, social justice, and people in the public eye, as well as creating stylized portraits from photographs of her clients’ family and friends. Mary’s paintings have been shown at several galleries in California and New York. Her work has garnered national awards and has been featured in several publications including the book “Deaf Artists in America: Colonial to Contemporary,” by Deborah Sonnenstrahl.

The Pearls: Erica Hossler

Hailing from Indiana, her hearing family discovered the core to her life: ASL. Thanks to Indiana School for the Deaf, her family grew the passion in advocating for Bilingualism. During Erica’s Gallaudet University years, she was involved with Student Body Government & Protest. Because she loves people, she received her B.A. degree in Communication Studies & Sociology in 2007.
When Erica first got a job at Deaf News Network, her job was to create a new avenue of media: visually oriented TV shows for the Deaf community. At the same time, there was a new organization, Deaf Youth USA, targeting for 18-30 years old. Both of them inspired her by discovering the missing links in Deaf world: leadership and media.

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