ICBDA facilitates the empowerment of its members through education and visibility in the hearing and Deaf communities. This is done through leadership development, educational advancement for youth, and economic development.


The Indiana Chapter of Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. (ICBDA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, organized exclusively for the charitable, religious, scientific purposes and educational purposes.


To educate the Black Deaf community of their rights and responsibilities as co-existing citizens of the Black community and the Deaf community within the hearing world.

To improve the overall lives of Black Deaf people.

To address the social, economic, educational, and political issues that impact the Black Deaf community.

To develop a network, both locally and nationally, for employment opportunities.

To facilitate opportunities for cultural enrichment.

To create mentoring programs for Black Deaf youth and minority American Sign Language – English interpreters.



Donald Tinsley graduated from the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) in 1969. He is one of the original founders of IBDA in 1992 and serviced as its first president in 1994-1996. Donald also served as the editor-in-chief of the National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA)’s quarterly newsletter, NETWORK, from 1994 to 1997 (now known as ‘NBDA Connections’). During the years from 1999 through 2002, Donald served as the NBDA board treasurer. In 1998, Donald served as the national chairperson for NBDA’s 16th Biennial Conference that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. Donald was honored with NBDA Spotlight award twice in 2003 and 2005 for his commitment and leadership in elevating the profile of Deaf Blacks across the United States.


1992: Donald Tinsley, Carl Moore, Scott Muller, and Mernarr ‘Beetle’ McClendon founded the Indianapolis Black Deaf Advocates (IBDA)

1995: The original IBDA logo was created

1997: IBDA evolved to the Indiana Black Deaf Advocates (IBDA)

2009: IBDA transitioned to the Indiana Chapter of Black Deaf Advocates (ICBDA)

2017: ICBDA secured its own office space at 1200 E. 42nd Street, Indianapolis

2019: ICBDA set up a Facebook page

2020: ICBDA released a new logo

2020: ICBDA set up a LinkedIn, Twitter, & YouTube

2021: ICBDA launched a new website

2021: ICBDA hosted Facebook LIVE Black Lives Matter Townhall Meeting

2022: ICBDA launched series of Advocacy, Health Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Mental Support, & Interpreter Workshops