September is Deaf Awareness Month and there are so many ways you can celebrate and support. The last full week of September is also International Week of the Deaf – this year’s theme is “Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights”. Your involvement can help promote equal opportunities, inclusivity, and accessibility for the deaf in your community.
First a day, then a week…
Deaf Awareness Month began in 1958 when the World Federation of the Deaf celebrated the first International Day of the Deaf. This went on to be celebrated as the International Week of the Deaf (the last full week of September in most countries).
Now, the entire month of September is celebrated as Deaf Awareness Month to increase the public’s awareness of deaf issues, culture, and people.
Why celebrate Deaf Awareness Month?
While this year marked the 32nd anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), accessibility and full inclusion are still issues that individuals with disabilities face every day. Learning more about the rich Deaf culture, people, and issues can be the first step in promoting understanding, acceptance, and equal rights.
- Learn some sign language basics from native signers (For ASL, check out ASL Connect, ASL University, the ASL App and other native teachers on social media)
- Follow and amplify the stories of Deaf creators on social media
- Support Deaf businesses in your community
- Take a course and learn more about Deaf culture
- Consider and talk to HR about accessibility in your workplace and community, from in person events/meetings, closed captioning for video conferencing, and accessible web design
- Support or volunteer at non-profit organizations, civil liberties groups, and schools for the Deaf
- Contact national and state representatives to support the rights of deaf and hard-of-hearing people through legislation and regulations.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are essential and vital to our world. The only differences are the modes of communication. Read more about the communication challenges in the time of COVID-19 and other resources on our blog.
Follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter to learn more throughout September.