The UA Critical Languages Center and other campus partners are hosting a public forum Sept. 19-20 at Hotel Capstone from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day to discuss topics relevant to the Deaf cultural community. Topics will range from inclusion and accessibility in higher education settings and local resources to the need for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and access to classes for those who want to learn ASL.
“As far as a forum goes, with presentations and panel discussions, this is the first time,” said Dr. Koji Arizumi, director of the CLC. “We have had smaller events like our ‘Deaf World Expo,’ and the ‘Sunshine 2.0 Visit’ before.”
A team of individuals from all over campus are working to create this inaugural event. “This event is an excellent example of collaborative work by the staff, faculty, and students in various departments and other institutions,” said Arizumi.
“Their strong motivation stems from the conviction that universities should include more resources and opportunities for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and provide community-building interactions between hearing people and Deaf people.”
UA departments helping with the event include communication studies, communicative disorders, instructional technology, and special education and multiple abilities. The Office of Disability Services, the School of Social Work, BAMA ASL president Sara Grady, PhD student Carolina Kudesey and ASL instructor Tabitha Venable, are also instrumental to the event. Off-campus partners include the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
Panelists include Dr. Kenneth DeHaan of Gallaudet University and Debrah Bryant from the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind.
Arizumi hopes this forum will be a positive sign of things to come. “I hope this event will make more people aware of Deaf Culture,” he said. “And that it will be a big step toward more diversity in our UA community.”
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