Unsung hero playing key role in Shelby County coronavirus fight for deaf community

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In honor of Black History month, FOX13′s Family Focus is taking a moment to recognize the impact of contributions by African Americans in our community.

Among those unsung heroes is a woman whose name you might not know, but you’ve surely seen her face regularly over the past 10 months.

ALL MONTH LONG, FOX13 WILL BE CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS. WE HAVE AN ENTIRE SECTION DEDICATED TO THEIR STORIES. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Brenda Cash uses sign language to impact lives.

Cash shows us how deaf interpreters like her are crucial tools during this pandemic.

Cash is playing a key role in the lives of the hearing impaired.

Every week, you see Cash interpreting for the deaf community during the Shelby County Coronavirus Task Force news briefings. Cash works for Bridges West, an agency that depends on the gift of sign language.

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“The deaf community reached out to us when the health department made their announcement about covid, and they didn’t provide an interpreter, and sometimes the captioning doesn’t work, and sometimes they don’t understand English very well, so they have to use an actual sign language interpreter,” Cash said.

Sign language has been part of Cash’s life since she was a baby. That was the only way she communicated with her family inside their Memphis home.

“Both of my parents are deaf, my mother is hard of hearing, my dad is completely deaf, so we grew up signing; my mom taught me and my sister at the age of one,” she said.

Though her parents are gone, their legacy lives on through their daughter.

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Cash made sure the deaf community, including her son, are not left out during a crucial time in our country.

“If your parents were still living, what would they say,” asked FOX13′s Siobhan Riley.

“They would be very proud,” she said. “I know they would. I know my dad would be like that’s my daughter. I’m so happy for her, she’s actually doing great things for the community.”

Cash works hard to help the deaf community overcome some of the biggest challenges right now.

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Her proudest moment is exposing the community to something a lot of people didn’t know about before.

“That awareness that it’s bringing out to the deaf community, that they actually are understanding and reaching out like thank you, thank you so much for actually providing that communication access because now we feel like we’re a part of the community and not left out,” she explained.