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Deaf Awareness Week – Last Week in September

The last week of September is a time when communities all over the U.S. and around the world recognize the language, culture, and everyday experience of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This is known as Deaf Awareness Week, the International Week of the Deaf, or the International Week of Deaf People, and during these seven days, activities abound. As this year’s week kicked off, Gallaudet University president Alan Hurwitz applauded these efforts.

“It is wonderful to see so many schools, colleges, civic groups, and congregations celebrating deaf culture,” Dr. Hurwitz said. “Gallaudet students live in an environment where every theatre performance, guest lecture, workshops, and sporting event is by and for deaf people. The beauty of Deaf Awareness week is that people everywhere can get a taste of what we offer and enjoy here.”

Though D.C. has many ongoing activities geared toward deaf and hard of hearing people, including a Deaf Awareness Night at the Nationals baseball stadium, a Deaf Appreciation Day at the Six Flags America amusement part in Upper Marlboro, Md. Many cities, like Hurwitz’s longtime home of Rochester, N.Y., focus on hosting a number of activities during that week. In New York City, a massive “silent shout” event is planned, featuring deaf rap artist Signmark.

Hurwitz enjoys the cultural interaction that Deaf Awareness Day brings. “You can attend a baseball game with deaf families, see a visual theatre performance, or take an ASL class,” Hurwitz said. “No matter what the activity, cultural openness is always rewarded.”

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