Last year, I attended a training with the Office of disabilities in my State. The training discussed access in the employment arena for persons with disabilities. It was an eye opening experience for me!
There were two sign language interpreters at the training providing sign language for a deaf woman in attendance. They took turns signing for her. She was an active participant in the training. She was asking thoughtful questions and providing insight and understanding into the life of a deaf person. What struck me most after leaving that training was the fact that if a sign language interpreter was not available for this woman she would not have had the ability to actively participate in the training. Her voice would have been silenced. Silenced not only because she needed a sign language interpreter to understand what was being said but also because she needed a sign language interpreter to communicate to the hearing community what she was thinking, feeling and understanding.
We all have a voice in this world and nothing should keep us from using our voice. Nothing! I left that training wondering what I could do to make sure that the deaf community’s voice is heard.
Ironically, several days after the training I was at home working. The television was on in another room but I could hear the commentary. They were quoting statistics about the lack of access to sign language worldwide for people that are deaf. That was shocking and I knew that I wanted to do something about this. That is what preceded this burning desire in my heart to make a difference for those who may be silenced due to their lack of access to sign language.
Child Hunger and Higher Education are still charitable endeavors that the word changes will support but as we have said from the beginning “there will also be times when we are lead to support other causes.” http://www.thewordchanges.com/blogs/news/18988907-the-word-changes. This is such a time!
While we recognize March as Women's History Month, we wanted to go a step further and acknowledge those women who are able to achieve greatness while being deaf. So we are kicking off our new cause: We All Have a Voice with a blog post about deaf women who have changed the world and then we will continue on this month with blog posts highlighting the remarkable lives of deaf people. This year, we look forward to partnering with an organization that brings resources to the deaf community and allows them to live out their true purpose, so stay tuned!!
Finally, please share your story about your relationship with someone in the deaf community. We would love to hear from you.
Peace and Love,
Antoinette, Founder of the word changes