The Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing celebrates Deaf Awareness Week September 20-26 to promote and raise awareness about the language, culture and diversity of the deaf community worldwide — “Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities” is this year’s theme.
The themes are created by the World Federation of the Deaf, an international organization, in collaboration with the United Nations and focuses on improving the human rights of deaf people.
The commission celebrates Arizona’s thriving deaf community by celebrating American Sign Language, which is the backbone of deaf culture in the United States. Sign language, whether it is ASL or another sign language, is a deaf person’s human right!
Having access to information in their language will provide the same equal benefits provided to a hearing person. Having language access prevents deprivation and disparity in development milestones, education and knowledge.
Ninety percent of hearing parents give birth to deaf children. Yet only one-in-four hearing parents use sign language to communicate with their deaf child or children. That is why ACDHH encourages parents and family members to have resources to ensure their deaf child is successful.
For example, #WhyISign is an organization where they provide support to the families learning sign language to communicate with their deaf children. There are many resources where you can learn ASL! You can check into your local community colleges or universities, online resources, apps, books or videos!
Not a parent or family member of a deaf person? Not a problem! You, too, can learn ASL through these same resources. And while you are learning ASL, you can support your local deaf community online and learn more about the thriving Arizona deaf community.
There are deaf organizations, deaf-owned businesses, deaf artists, and many more in Arizona to patronize.
Share it on your social media, make supportive comments, hold events that are welcoming to the deaf community. Another way to get involved to support your Arizona deaf community is to create opportunities for equal communication access.
Advocate for inclusion of ASL and accurate captioning on videos and other information shared through broadcasts, press conferences and online content.
Together, we can celebrate Arizona’s thriving deaf community! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check out our Deaf Awareness Week posts.
Kim Minard is a specialist at the Arizona Commission for the Dead and Hard of Hearing. Learn more at acdhh.org.