SAN ANTONIO – As millions around the world watched and celebrated CODA’s historic win on Sunday night for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the moment hit close to home for Lisa Lopez, director of the Parent-Infant Program at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children.
“Any time we’re talking about persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s a place close to my heart because I’ve been doing this work for 44 years,” said Lopez.
She applauded how the film highlights the daily lives of people with hearing loss.
“The movie does an excellent job of bringing awareness that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are active and thriving members of a community,” Lopez said.
Lopez said CODA, which stands for child of deaf adults, also represents diversity, inclusion and being able to connect with loved ones.
“The movie is not so much about communication, but what language is, how language connects us to other human beings and is a language of love. That’s our story at Sunshine Cottage, the story of a mother’s love for her daughter,” said Lopez.
One of Lopez’s students is 10-year-old Diego Munoz. He’s used a cochlear implant for years.
“I was deaf when I was born. I had nothing to hear,” Deigo said. “I had hearing aids. But those did not work, so I got cochlear implants to help me.”
Diego said he’s the only member of his family to be hard of hearing, but that hasn’t held him back.
“I like to play with my brother and everything. I like to play outside with him. I like to read him books and watch YouTube with him,” he said.
Diego also enjoys helping his classmates, hanging out in school and wants everyone to know he’s pretty much a normal kid.
“I’m not like a mean guy and just wanted them to know that I’m a good guy. I’m deaf, but I like to ask people what they like to do,” Diego said.
For Lopez, normalcy and not marginalizing the deaf community is what CODA’s win also represents.
“We want our children to embrace who they are, that their deafness is just a part of them. It’s not the whole of them,” said Lopez. “We want them to be able to advocate for whatever need comes up and be proud of who they are.”