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Corpus Christi deaf community inspired by 'CODA' Oscar win

Linda Lugo who helps people learn ASL said she was thrilled to see a movie where most of the cast was deaf and a movie that represented the CODA community.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was that infamous slap seen around the world during the live broadcast of the Oscars Sunday night that's dominated headlines.

However, members of the local deaf community here in Corpus Christi believe there was a much more important moment that deserves a bigger spotlight.

They're talking about the film 'CODA', which stands for child of a deaf adult.

The movie's big Oscar night is being called a game-changer for the deaf community.

Troy Kotsur won best supporting actor. He's the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar for his role in the coming-of-age movie 'CODA'.

Among those watching the historic win at home was Angel Cantu.

"I was like one day that can be me, I can inspire the deaf culture and community and show hearing people we can be as talented on movies or tv shows," said Cantu.

Cantu is a local deaf actor who we've spotlighted during the CC7D film challenge.

He watched in awe as the film also picked up Oscars for best picture and best adapted screenplay.

Cantu believes the moments also bring attention to the many talents of the deaf community.

"Now this is inspiring me as a deaf person to do my auditions and focus on getting my goal, just take it. My agent is submitting me for new upcoming projects, and now I'm getting director auditions."

It was at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center in Corpus Christi where 3News also spoke with Linda Lugo.

she herself is deaf and helps people learn ASL.

"As I was watching Troy, he won best supporting actor and I did see his message that he won, and I thought gosh I won too, I won, finally we won! There is recognition for the deaf community," Lugo said.

Lugo is a coordinator for the ASL interpreting program at Del Mar College.

She explained she was thrilled to see a movie where most of the cast was deaf and a movie that represented the CODA community.

"I have seen situations where people are turned down and do not get that particular role and they choose a hearing person over a deaf person and I thought when I saw the move, that was something I was able to see in my lifetime.  We are already in 2022 that should already be happening, and we absolutely see it happening now," said Lugo.

Linda's daughter Bianca Hill grew up as a CODA and believes the movie itself and it's success at the Oscars can help promote more education and awareness.

"I did think there was a lot of connection to the struggles what the CODAs in the movie went through.  It was really nice to see that being shown as part of the deaf community as well," Hill said.

As for that other moment that has dominated most news stories involving Will Smith appearing to slap comedian Chris Rock.

"The deaf community the culture everyone watching , we are watching our people succeed, that is what we are watching.  Everybody can focus on that, but we are seeing the future for the deaf community."

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