WXXI AM News

Using Deaf Awareness Week in Rochester to educate and advocate

Sep 24, 2018

Anne Saunders of the City of Rochester Communications Office holds a small version of the International Deaf Awareness Flag that was raised outside City Hall on Monday.
Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

This is Deaf Awareness Week, a time that is set aside worldwide each year to increase public awareness of deaf issues, people and culture.

Officials raised the International Deaf Awareness Flag outside City Hall in Rochester on Monday, and among those speaking was the Chairperson of Deaf Awareness Week locally, Fred Beam.

Through an interpreter, he talked about the need to educate hearing people about the capabilities of those who are deaf.

“Deaf and hearing people are the same. We want to let you know that we can do anything except hear. Don’t let people stop us from becoming full persons, that’s what Deaf Awareness Week is all about."

Beam says it’s important for deaf people to let everyone know that a lack of hearing ability does not stop them from accomplishing great things.

“…and teach hearing people about us, in the fields of art, education, the fields of social justice, many ways we want to show that our deaf pride exists because we’ve been here for a long, long, time.”

Fred Beam, Chairperson of Rochester Deaf Awareness Week
Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Beam also notes that technology has helped expand the abilities of deaf people.

"Now we have captioning and many opportunities in the world for deaf people today. Technology is always improving and that has coordinated with and met some deaf needs. We’re not finished; we have more work to do to get some equity."

The Rochester area is home to the nation’s largest per capita population of deaf and hard of hearing people.

You can find a link to Rochester Deaf Awareness Activities here.

And the City of Rochester also has a webpage with information about resources for people who are deaf.