Governor Abbott Proclaims September 21st-27th Deaf Awareness Week in Texas

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Office of the Texas Governor, Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities

September 21st-27th is Deaf Awareness Week

International Week of the Deaf symbol

Founded by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) in 1958, the last week of September is celebrated as International Week of the Deaf across the globe. Communities and organizations come together to celebrate the achievements of the Deaf community as well as the richness of Deaf culture. As WFD notes, it is a time to "[g]ather together, become united, and show unity to the rest of the world." Each year is marked with a theme, this years being "Reaffirming Deaf People's Human Rights." Throughout the week, each day is dedicated to a specific topic related to sign language rights. 

Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation declaring September 21st-27th Deaf Awareness Week in Texas. Our state's history is rich with contributions from the Deaf community, including Erastus Smith, a hero of the Texas Revolution. Additionally, in 1856 the 6th Texas Legislature helped ensure the support of the community by establishing the Texas School for the Deaf- still in existence today! Continue reading below for more ways to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as well as information on a first-of-its-kind driver education course available in American Sign Language (ASL). 

World Federation for the Deaf's Global Leader's Challenge

As part of the International Week of the Deaf, WFD is challenging leaders from across the globe to sign "[name of their national sign language] is for Everyone!" The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities is pleased to include Executive Director Ron Lucey signing "ASL is for Everyone!"

Global Leaders Challenge video still

Texas Launches First-of-its-kind Driving Course in ASL

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) recently released a first-of-its-kind driver education course in American Sign Language (ASL) for deaf or hard of hearing students! Created in fulfilment of the requirements of Senate Bill 1051 (85th Texas Legislature), the course provides minors and adults the ability to fully participate in the classroom portion of driver education. TDLR Executive Director Brian E. Francis notes, "Being able to receive this information in ASL will allow for these students to have the same opportunity as their fellow Texans when taking a driver education course." 

TDLR staff worked with ASL experts throughout Texas to develop a course that serves the deaf or hard of hearing community while meeting all driver education and traffic safety standards. In addition to ASL, the course contains a transcript and voiceovers in English. Interested students must take the course through a TDLR-registered driver education school in order to receive the required certificate of participation. 

TDLR ASL Driver Education Resources

Celebrate Deaf Talent, Deaf Culture, and Deaf Artistry

The Statewide Outreach Center at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) is hosting ASL Expressions on Thursday, September 24th at 6pm. This showcase will feature local talent, including TSD students and well-knowns like Matthew MaxeyMegg RoseMatthew Schwartz and more! These performers will come together to share expression through poetry, storytelling, dance, and music.  coming together to share with you their own unique performance styles in poetry, storytelling, dance and music.

WHAT:             ASL Expressions – A Celebration of Deaf Awareness
                        Showcasing Deaf Talent, Deaf Culture and Deaf Artistry

WHEN:           Thursday, September 24, 2020
                       6:30 – 8:00 p.m. CST

ASL Expressions Registration Page