CJ is known primarily as CEO, producer, director, writer, actor, comedian, and motivational speaker. He has traveled with the National Theatre of the Deaf and toured with "Children of a Lesser God" on Broadway. He has also appeared on NBC's "Frasier," ABC Family's "Lincoln Heights," the PBS television shows "Sesame Street" and "Rainbow's End," and was the host of "Happy Hands Kids Klub." His latest job was a "voice over" for a Deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called "PathFinder" from 20th Century Fox. In addition, CJ can rightly add educator and advocate to his credits. He heads Hands Across Communications to produce events for international deaf artists to share their talents and receive recognition for their artistic work. The goal is to make their dream come true through performances on stage.
He founded Sign World TV (www.signworldtv.com
) to help broaden the opportunities for Deaf people in entertainment. He completed two documentary film projects: "The Other Side - South Africa" and "The Other Side - Japan." His new DVD, "What Are You...Deaf?" is on sale at: www.cjjoneslive.com
When not pursuing these goals, he takes his one-man show (www.cjjoneslive.com
) on the road! For more than 30 years, CJ has shared his talents with Deaf and hearing schools, events, and universities across the country and around the world. Having appeared on Broadway stage, in television, video, and on the big screen, he has experienced what he calls the "double whammy" of being an actor who is both deaf and black. CJ vigorously spreads the message to students and adults alike, that being different does not mean being less worthwhile.
Evelina is a Community Health Educator and Outreach Specialist for the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD) She shares her knowledge of pregnancy prevention information with Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth and their parents. She is also an ASL instructor at Glendale Community College. She is also skilled in Visual Gestural Communication and Cultural/International Competency. Her presence always provides an opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing youth to meet a real life role model.
After attending Gallaudet University and UCLA, Evelina graduated from California State University Northridge with a degree in Deaf Studies. She also worked with the National Association for the Deaf's Youth Leadership Camp in Oregon, and Pacifica Camp in California. Evelina assisted the drama students with role playing, casting, and directing. She served as Miss Deaf California from 2001-2004. In her free time Evelina pursues her passion for artistic skills as a storyteller, poet, educator and traveler. We are glad to have her talents here at Hands Across Communications.
Kate graduated with a B.A. degree from California State University Northridge in Deaf Studies in 2003. She has worked as an Interpreter for the National Center On Deafness at CSUN for seven years. She was the first hearing chairperson to be voted in by deaf peers to the Deaf CSUNians, the deaf student government of CSUN. Volunteer work is a big part of her life in many areas such as performing songs in sign at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, teaching dance at New Horizons for the Brite Lite Dancers, Public Relations Chairperson for the Annual Interpreter Symposium at CSUN. She has been a part of the Deaf Community since the age of six and feels blessed to work, volunteer and play within its rich culture. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, friends, family and her two cats.
Robin Henning – Associate Director
Robin has been working on the Festival since the beginning. While not promoting HAC's mission, she can be found helping seniors or playing with many of her dog friends. Robin brings experience from her job as past Director of the Intercultural Festival of Children's Choirs, Los Angeles District Director of Religion and Race, member of the United Methodist Junior Basketball League Board of Directors, and most recently her participation as a volunteer with Project Africa Global, Inc. After graduating from UCLA, she studied ASL at Pierce College, and now rolls up her sleeves and tutors beginning students at Santa Monica College.