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Meet this year’s MC

Fred Beam

Fred Michael Beam is the outreach coordinator for Sunshine 2.0. He is an experienced performer with acting credits that include Nicholas in “By the Music of the Spheres” at the Goodman Theater, Harry in “Harry the Dirty Dog” at the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts; Witness in “Miracle Workers” and Stranger in “Mad Dancer” at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; “Fall Out Shelter,” “The Dirt Maker” and “The Underachiever” at the Kennedy Center; the title character in “Othello” at Gallaudet University; and Steve in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Sign­Rise Cultural Arts in Washington, D.C. He also performs in his one-man shows, “Fred Michael Beam: Sign Me a Story” and “Black, Deaf Male: Who Am I?,” which toured nationwide. He was a member of “I Didn’t Hear That Color,” the first black deaf play ever produced. His television and film credits include “If You Could Hear My Own Tune,” The West Wing,” “Secret Dream,” “Little Lonely Monster,” “Deaf Mosaic” and “The New Captain Kangaroo,” for which he won the 2000 Media Access Award.

A dancer, director and choreographer, Beam has worked with the Gallaudet Dance Company, the National Deaf Dance Theatre, the DuPont Dance Company, the Penn Vision Dance Company and the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts. He has performed around the globe, including in Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, France, Jamaica, Japan, Sweden, South America and the Virgin Islands. He also was choreographer for the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Open Circle Theater in Washington, D.C.

He is executive director of In­visible Hands, Inc., which promotes deaf awareness through performing arts and was a founding member of The Wild Zappers, an all deaf male dance company. He also established Theater Arts Leadership Training for Deaf People of Color at Gallaudet University. Beam established the Black Deaf Expo and has hosted it since 2003, providing the Deaf Black Community the opportunity to stand proud, displaying their culture.

Beam also was a board member of Quest for Arts, Inc., the Governor’s Ad­visory Committee on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities in Maryland and a former president of District of Columbia Black Deaf Advocates. For his outstanding work with the deaf community, Beam was chosen one of “Essence Magazine’s” Real Men of the Year, and has been “DEAF LIFE” magazine’s Deaf Person of the Month.

Meet this year’s judges!

Takiyah Harris

I am Collage Art Artist and Fine Art Photographer.  I am involved in De’VIA since 2014 because I started to gather more information about Black Deaf History including my ancestry from my family’s sides.  I wanted to share my experiences with you about the oppression, Deaf experience, Deafhood and others.  I am spending my time working on the compositions with the texture materials because I wanted to feel the connection to various artworks. Most of Collage Art artworks are giving you the narrative stories and interpretation about Black History.  Most of artworks are influenced by Jacob Lawerence and Emroy Douglass and Romare Bearden. Also, I had been working on various art projects for Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients from my previous job for 13 years.

I am holding two Bachelor degrees from Southern Illinois University
and Governors State University.  Also, I have an associate degree from
National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of
Technology. I had been involved in various galleries around the Chicago
area and out of the states.

Noel King

Noel King, MAAT, ATR (she/her) is a mental health clinician and art therapist at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID). She works in a wide range of settings with clients who have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyles. Currently, she is a doctoral student in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University. Her goal is to expand more diverse therapeutic approaches to mental health services in the Deaf community, such as art, music, play, drama, and dance movement therapy. She seeks to break the limitation of traditional talk therapy approaches and customize the therapy services to all deaf folx, especially underserved and marginalized groups to amplify their voices. On a more personal side, Noelloves attending art museums and galleries, being a foodie, exploring new art mediums, and traveling. Her work can be accessed at

Justin Perez

Justin was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He was a student at Texas School for the Deaf. He has always been fascinated by American Sign Language (ASL) performance art and storytelling styles. Throughout his teenage years, he had incredibly deep bonds with several of his close friends who also enjoy sharing a variety of ASL stories, and that was where he defined numerous storytelling techniques along with sign language expressions. The more he shared his stories with the public; the more people have asked him to continue sharing his stories.

That was the fuel to his creativity and innovative persona in pushing new sign language art performances. He quickly realized this type of work is something he is passionate about. Justin started receiving offers and opportunities all over the world, including being a Visual Vernacular (VV) teacher at Texas School for the Deaf, ASL tutor at National Technical Institute of the Deaf, ASL model and expert with TRUE+WAY ASL curriculum, and many more. In 2007, he won the ASL Elements national ASL competition with his fan favorite, a Super Mario Kart story. He ultimately aims to bring his Visual Vernacular performance art to the World.