Exclusive interviews with contemporary newsmakers                  

Donald M. Tinsley
Community advocate

Donald M. Tinsley, Sr. is a veteran community advocate—well-known in and outside of Indiana’s Deaf community. He’s a quiet kind of leader, not given to talking about his own accomplishments.

An alumnus of Indiana School for the Deaf, he studied at NTID and received his Associate’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in December 1976, then, as he notes, “worked as Electronic and Engineering Technician at seven different companies for 18 years.”

Since 1995, he been Program Director of Indiana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS). He has served on the Culture Inclusion Committee for the Governor’s Planning Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD from 1993 to 1998, and chaired of the Relay Indiana Consumer Advisory Committee. He graduated from GCPD’s Partners in Policymaking Academy (PIP) in 1994.

He founded the Indianapolis chapter of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA)—Indianapolis Black Deaf Advocates—and served as its first president from 1994 to 1996. He chaired NBDA’s 16th Biennial Conference in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2002, he served as NBDA’s Treasurer.

When Sprint opened Relay Indiana in 1993, Tinsley served on the Consumer Advisory Committee (RICAC) for the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation (InTRAC) from 1993 to 1997, and chaired RICAC from 1995 to 1997.

He was elected vice president of the Indiana Association of the Deaf (IAD) in 1999. In April 2003, he made history at the IAD’s biennial conference, when he was elected its first Black president; he served for two years.

Currently, he is a member of IAD’s Board of Directors. He continues to volunteer for his community. In 2005, he was recognized by NBDA for his accomplishments. He also received the NAD’s 2006 Robert Greenmun Award for his excellence in leadership and contributions to the IAD.

He and his wife Gloria, an alumna of Tennessee School for the Deaf, have two grown hearing children: Don Jr., a branch manager for Rent-A-Center in Indianapolis, and Rebecca, who earned her doctorate in Biochemistry in 2006 from University of Michigan, and works at Colgate-Palmolive in New Jersey. Don and Gloria also have two grandchildren: Destiny, 12, and Donald Tinsley III, 7.

He graduated from Aenon Bible College in Indianapolis in 1991, becoming an ordained minister, and conducts an energetic Deaf Ministry at local churches. He notes proudly, “I’ve ministered to the Deaf Community for approximately 25 years,through teaching Sunday School classes for the Deaf, leading home Bible studies, and helping to establish Deaf ministries at several churches. Currently, I’m the Deaf Ministry leader at Mount Zion Apostolic Church in Indianapolis.” Mount Zion hosts an annual Deaf Ministry Conference for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing locals, “to empower the Deaf with the gospel.” It includes a “workshop designed to teach and train interpreters in a manner that demonstrates a respect for Deaf culture and language.”

In the secular sphere, he has given numerous presentations on Deaf and Black Deaf Culture, Black Deaf History, the ADA, and Deaf Leadership training. Recently, he conducted an illuminating and enjoyable workshop on anti-discrimination legislation at the Pre-Conference Institute of the First National Deaf People of Color Conference in Indianapolis.

Deaf Person of the Year
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2017
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2016
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2015
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2014
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
Kurt
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2013
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
John Yeh
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2012
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
John Yeh
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2011
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
John Yeh
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2010
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
John Yeh
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2009
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
John Yeh
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2008
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
Robert Davila
Kevin Frost
Ed Bosson
Leon Lim
John Yeh
Marlee Matin
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2007
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
Robert R. Davila
Lizzie Sorkin
E. Lynn Jacobowitz
Joey Baer
Donald Tinsley, Sr.
Howie Seago
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
Bernard Bragg
Alice Hagemeyer
Carole Lazorisak
Ben Soukup
Tony Saccente
Fred Beam

Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns you’d like to share?  Contact us at editor@deafpeople.com.
Copyright © 2007 - 2016 MSM Productions Ltd. All Rights Reserved.