Friends of ‘CODA’ Star Daniel Durant, Twin Ports Deaf Community Inspired by Oscars Win

The deaf studies minor at UMD has the second-largest enrollment in the school.

DULUTH, Minn.- The small town pride for Duluth actor Daniel Durant was amplified by his fellow members of the deaf and hard of hearing community here in town.

The deaf studies minor at UMD has the second-largest enrollment in the school. Courses include Linguistics, Deaf Culture, and American Sign Language Skill Building Workshop.

Coordinators at UMD’s American Sign Language Lab said the way the Oscars audience signed their applause shows how much acceptance of the deaf community has grown in society.

“Really that showed that hearing people can realize that there are other ways, kind of visual ways to express that you know because the sound based clapping wouldn’t make as much sense so to see the deaf people kind of applauding him in that way in the visual way was really beautiful,” said Mary Soltis, ASL Lab Supervisor, and Coordinator, interviewed with ASL interpreter Doug Bowen-Bailey.

According to Soltis, the hearing students in UMD’s Deaf Lab studies are inspired by the success of CODA, proving that hearing limitations won’t hold deaf people back from how far they can go in life.

Retired UMD professor Joanne Coffin-Langdon said she couldn’t believe the little boy her kids grew up playing with was up on the Oscars stage along with the other cast members who are deaf as well, getting recognition for his work.

“Yeah at the Oscars? Being like Daniel’s there it’s just like so amazing,” Coffin-Langdon said.

“That kid, you know the snot-nosed kid that I knew with his bowl cut to see him, he was kind of a little bit of a trouble maker now to see what he’s become it was just really fun to see,” she said.

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