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'Representation of diversity' | West Hartford Deaf community reflects on 'CODA' Oscar win

CODA stands for "children of deaf adults," and the film is a coming-of-age story about a teen who is the only hearing member of her family.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Apple TV+ film 'CODA' made history at the Oscars Sunday night, the film won the Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay awards. 

CODA stands for "children of deaf adults," and the film is a coming-of-age story about a teen who is the only hearing member of her family.

The movie's male lead, Troy Kotsur, became the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar.

The film also stars deaf actors.

RELATED: 'CODA' wins best picture Oscar, marking a streaming first

Jeff Bavin, executive director of the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, spoke about how impactful the movie is.

"I think the entire film was really, finally an opportunity for CODAs to have a voice," Bavin said. "My kids have said that oftentimes, many people have said what is a CODA? They have to explain, we are hearing children of deaf adults and people really didn't understand what that meant and now the film has really raised this awareness that we have this community, this population of individuals or CODAs – it's a different culture, they have different experiences, things to offer. So, it's really opened so many doors across the country to help people understand this is a whole other group."

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Bavin revealed he performed with Kotsur back in the 90s, in a show called "25 Cents," centering around a deaf peddler. 

He said he is proud of how far Kotsur has come. 

"It really emphases the importance of having deaf actors in deaf roles," Bavin said. "We know that we've had a lot of breakthroughs over the years but I think this is really opening so many doors, especially at a time when diversity is being recognized and respected. So I think this going to continue to open so many more doors for deaf actors, hard at hearing actors, CODA actors, to be more involved in the film industry and to give each representation of diversity here in America."

RELATED: Troy Kotsur makes history with supporting actor Oscar win

Symphonie Privett is an anchor and host of The Buzz at FOX61 News. She can be reached at sprivett@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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