The International Week of Deaf People has been celebrated during the last full week of September, Sept 20-26, 2021. Last week, we came together to recognize that deaf people have our own communities, our own cultures, our own languages, sign languages, which unite us all.
This year’s theme for the International Week of Deaf People was “Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities”. Deaf communities have been expanding and thriving throughout the years and giving us all strength, now is the time to celebrate their incredible endurance at the local, national and international level.
It was an important week for the recognition of deaf people, it is vital for deaf communities and deaf organizations. This falls under the key principle, “Nothing about us, without us!”.
I am on the board of Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf (OCSD) as a Sign Language Director with our committee to educate and promote sign languages and Deaf people in Ontario. Our goal was to establish an International Day of Sign Languages on the 23rd declared by World Federation of the Deaf with United Nations. ‘We sign for Human Rights.’ We aim to introduce and pass a government bill to formalize Ontario’s sign languages. I designed infographics showcasing “Did you know…” theme posts for each day of the week on OCSD’s Facebook page and shared on my social medias.
Guess What! OCSD, Sign Languages Act committee working together to showcase “Did you know” theme posts each day of the week that spread the @WFD work to establish an International Day of Sign Languages, starting tomorrow. We aim to introduce and pass a government bill to formalize Ontario’s sign languages. Let’s learn the history and facts to get where we are going for Ontario!
International Week of the Deaf People 2021 https://wfdeaf.org/iwdeaf2021/
Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous affairs: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-indigenous-affairs.
Canada Association of the Deaf / Association des Sourds du Canada issue positions on language, http://cad.ca/issues-positions/language/
Did you know… Sign language has been in Canada a long time, and it has evolved with the additions of many new cultures.
Indigenous Sign Languages in Canada by Darin Flynn https://www.ucalgary.ca/people/darin-flynn/indigenous-sign-languages-in-Canada
Did you know… Sign Language in Ontario, as law, started with the Ministry of Education. Our sign languages are NOT official in Canada. Check out our progress in the last 28 years, we have so much work to do!
Snoddon, K. & Wilkinson, E. 2019. Problematizing the legal recognition of sign languages in Canada. Canadian Modern Language Review, 75(2)128-144. https://acadeafic.org/2019/07/02/legal-recognition-of-sign-languages-in-canada/
Did you know… There are so many reasons to learn sign language, especially for Deaf children. Truth be told, it’s our natural language and it is a health need!
Exploring the Acquisition of American Sign Language by Deaf Kindergarten Children: Early Language Access and the Use of Appropriate Resources by Dr. Jenelle Rouse https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9666&context=etd
Framing Sign Language as a Health Need in Canadian and International Policy by Dr. Kristin Snoddon and Jennifer J. Paul, JD https://youtu.be/Ajrjy9sKO80
Did you know…
The United Nations has declared, today and every year forward, September 23 is the ‘International Day of Sign Languages’.
And that’s not all….
World Federation of the Deaf President Dr. Yerker Anderson wrote a letter to The Hon. Gary Malkowski on July 21, 1993 claimed “Ontario is the first province or state (not country) to specify American Sign language and la langue des signes québécois as languages of instruction for Deaf and hard of hearing students.”
A Ministry of Education News Release published in 1993, “Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize ASL and LSQ as official languages of instruction.”
Did you know… There are 19+ different sign languages used in various Deaf communities in Ontario alone not including local languages. How cool is that!
Ai-Media shows different sign language alphabets from around the world https://www.ai-media.tv/sign-language-alphabets-from-around-the-world/
Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users, says UN chief from United Nations News https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1047012
Do you know…Who benefits from sign language? YOU, the one reading this! We all benefit from sign language from birth to the day we no longer live. It’s a human right, it’s a language especially for Deaf children!
Did you know… we are rolling up our sleeves to educate our provincial government to recognize our sign languages in Ontario and pass the bill! We need YOU to work with us to make this happen! We need at least 7 provinces & territories to recognize our sign languages to become official in Canada! We are at ground level, recruiting to get the ball rolling. Join us!
Contact Sign Language director for more information at email@example.com
How an Ontario bill becomes law https://www.ola.org/sites/default/files/common/how-bills-become-law-en.pdf