Accessing services for New Yorkers of different abilities can be a challenge. When visiting a doctor, lawyer, or government agency, Deaf individuals are often met with communication barriers impacting the essential services and information they receive. Many Deaf individuals don’t know how to assert their rights and service providers don’t know what kind of accommodations they have to provide. For example, Deaf individuals have the right to an interpreter but it is often denied to them. This can lead to inappropriate medical care, harmful interactions with the police, and loss of important financial benefits.

CUP teamed up with New York Lawyers for Public Interest (NYLPI) and designer Grace Robinson-Leo to create Sign Up!, a pocket-size foldout. The colorful guide helps Deaf New Yorkers let others know that they are Deaf and what their communication rights are. The guide contrasts illegal and appropriate practices used by service providers when providing an interpreter and what to do in case of discrimination. Using simple illustrations and high contrast colors, the guide is accessible to Deaf individuals with low vision.

Sign Up! launched in November 2016 at a community event, for the Deaf community and allies, organized in partnership with NYLPI and interpreting company All Hands In Motion. NYLPI plans to distribute the foldout at their regular Know Your Rights trainings and through their network of community partners.

Resources & Links

New York Lawyers for Public Interest is a non-profit legal organization whose mission is to advance equality and civil rights through the power of community lawyering. NYLPI’s Disability Justice Program works to advance civil rights and ensure equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities. 

Grace Robinson-Leo is a designer based in New York. 

Public Access Design is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). Public Access Design projects use design to make complex urban issues accessible to the New Yorkers most affected by them.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and public funds from the New York City, Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support was provided by Council Member Antonio Reynoso. 

Special Thanks

Margaux Lacroix, Christine Gaspar, Christina Curry, Nicolyn Plummer, Huberta Wolf


  • CUP
  • Oscar Nuñez
  • Ingrid Haftel
  • New York Lawyers For Public Interest
    Advocacy Partner
  • Maureen Belluscio
  • Grace Robinson-Leo
  • Designer